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Take House business seriously, ministers warned
Tandayi Motsi, The Herald (Zimbabwe)
July 03, 2006

PARLIAMENT has resolved to deal with Cabinet ministers who do not take the legislature’s business seriously and bring their conduct to the attention of the President.

The Parliamentary Liaison and Coordination Committee (LCC) yesterday recommended that Cabinet ministers who did not respond to issues raised in Parliament involving their ministries should be summoned to the legislature and the President made aware of their behaviour.

The recommendation was made at the end of a three-day LCC retreat and media relations workshop here.

The committee noted that the majority of the ministers were in the habit of not responding to pertinent issues related to their ministries in Parliament.

According to parliamentary Standing Orders, ministers should respond to issues raised in the House of Assembly and the Senate within 10 working days.

The committee resolved that if ministers did not respond to issues raised in Parliament within the stipulated time then the presiding officers (Speaker of House of Assembly or President of the Senate) should summon the particular minister and this should be copied to the President.

It was also resolved that a consolidated report from the LCC capturing the committee’s recommendations and responses should form part of the presiding officers’ regular briefing with the President.

There has been concern among the lawmakers over the failure by ministers to respond to issues raised in the House.

The President of the Senate, Cde Edna Madzongwe, said on Friday the continued absenteeism of ministers from both Houses during question time was a cause for concern.

She was officially opening the three-day workshop.

"The attention of presiding officers of both Houses has been drawn to the concerns that Parliament in general, and committee chairpersons in particular, have, with regard to the continued absenteeism of ministers from both Houses during question time as well as failure to respond to committee reports and motions," Cde Madzongwe said.

"Let me assure you all that presiding officers sympathise with members’ sentiments and we will play our part in ensuring that members of the executive avail themselves in Parliament when requested."

The workshop was attended by Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Cde Kumbirai Kangai, Deputy President of the Senate Cde Naison Ndlovu and chairpersons of portfolio committees.

Also in attendance were media practitioners.

The workshop was aimed at reviewing the First Session of the Sixth Parliament and way forward as well as improving Parliament and media relations.

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