By Blessings Mashaya
Legislators on Tuesday slammed Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko for bunking the National Assembly during the second reading of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill.
This was after Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere delivered the second reading speech explaining the NPRC Bill on behalf of Mphoko.
The debate was forced to adjourn after MPs complained bitterly that there was no one listening to them.
Kuwadzana East MDC MP Nelson Chamisa said there was no point in the National Assembly continuing to debate the Bill in the absence of Mphoko, who is responsible for the National Healing portfolio.
“I do not think it is sufficient to say we will have the minister reading the Hansard. Yes, he can read the Hansard but he will not be able to understand and read the body language and the emotions of members. This is a serious national debate. It can only be a debate by all of us,” he said.
“We know that the vice president is busy but in as much as he is busy, the minister of State could also come in. I can see that there is none. The seats are vacant and it tells you one thing . . . there is no seriousness by individuals who have been entrusted by government to deal with this Bill,” Chamisa fumed.
Norton independent MP Temba Mliswa accused Mphoko of not taking Parliament business seriously.
“You . . . have always told us you have written to his excellency over the conduct of the ministers. Up to now, you have not told us what his excellency has said,” he asked acting Speaker Melody Dziva, adding “we continue doing this everyday and it has become a game”.
“Why can he not learn from . . . (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa on the way he conducts his duty? I think he (Mphoko) needs to go for some schooling from the presidium pertaining to his conduct as … vice president. If he is not available, his responsible minister must be able to represent him,” Mliswa argued.
Harare West MDC MP Jessie Majome also complained that the minister who sponsored the Bill was not absent.
“I would wish it put on record and hope that MPs take very strong exception to the attitude of the Executive in not valuing the processes of this Parliament,” she said.
After the MPs complaints, the National Assembly was forced to adjourn, with Dziva saying the VP was in Bulawayo on national duty, and had sent his apologies. Daily News