President should attend Parly sessions

THE Wednesday live television coverage of the Parliament debates is a welcome move as Zimbabweans from across the country are now able to watch proceedings as they happen.
As a result of the live coverage, Members of Parliament have upped their game; hence the robust debates that at times degenerate into near fights.

Issues to do with women sanitary ware, sports, agriculture, gender, education have all been raised and debated, thus covering most of the issues that the nation wants addressed.
While we applaud the debates, not-withstanding the quality of discussions, it is disturbing that most of the Cabinet ministers who are supposed to answer relevant questions continue to be absent from the house.

At most sessions ministers and their deputies are always absent as though their ministries do not exist. Questions related to their work are always erased as no one speaks on their behalf, hence retarding progress.

As a result most pertinent issues brought from constituencies are failing to get attention as the relevant ministers absent themselves from national duty.

Gone are the days when ministers were not answerable to the public. In today’s world we expect ministers to attend Parliament and address people’s concerns.

The constituencies that voted legislators into Parliament are feeling short-changed because their representatives are not bringing back answers and solutions to their problems.

We urge the Speaker of Parliament to crack his whip and force Cabinet ministers to attend the Wednesday sessions.  While in the recent past we have had the Speaker reading the riot act to the ministers, it seems most of them have ignored his call for duty.

Apart from the ministers failing to regularly attend Parliament, we also have VP Phelekezela Mphoko who is rarely seen in the House. His counterpart, VP Emmerson Mnangagwa is, however, in Parliament at most times answering questions.

It is time Zimbabwean leaders report to the electorate that voted them into power and one way is through attending Parliament and interacting with legislators, themselves representatives of the people.

We also urge Parliament to introduce the President’s “question and answer” sessions as this will give President Robert Mugabe the platform to answer national issues as presented to him by the legislators.

In neighbouring South Africa, the President’s “question and answer” sessions are very popular because the country’s president, Jacob Zuma, attends and answers questions from legislators.

Zuma’s presence in South Africa’s Parliament has helped shape democracy and freedom of speech as legislators pitch pertinent questions which have a bearing to all citizens.

Mugabe must attend Parliament as he is answerable to the people who voted him into office. That Mugabe does not want to attend Parliament can be a factor on why his Cabinet ministers ignore Parliament sessions. They do not see any value and reason why they should attend when their boss snubs the engagement.

Post a comment