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Ministers ignore Chiwenga threat to punish Parliament absconders

Government Ministers have seemingly disregarded Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s threat to punish those who continue to abscond Parliament business.

Kuwadzana East legislator Charlton Hwende on Wednesday raised the matter after several Ministers failed to attend the National Assembly question and answer session conducted every Wednesday.

He asked why the government officials had not attended the Parliament when they were warned by Chiwenga last week.

“On a point of order! Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order pertains to the attendance of Ministers; this issue has been raised for a long time now.

“The list of apologies from the Ministers is very low and that shows that Ministers and their deputies are not taking Parliament business seriously,” Hwende said.

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“Two weeks ago, the Vice President was here and I was very fortunate that when he left this House, he called all the Ministers who were in this House and he told them that he would punish them if they do not come to Parliament. He said this outside the House.”

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda responded citing that some of the Ministers had gone with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to Ivory Coast for government business.

“I have understood your concern. The Hon. Vice President also made his commitment in the House and you are confirming that when you saw him outside the House.

“It is coincidental that a number of Ministers have gone with His Excellency the President to the Ivory Coast and obviously you must have seen that on the news,” he said.

Among the Ministers who did not come to Parliament are Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, Mines Minister Winston Chitando and Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza among others.

Local Government Minister July Moyo finally attended Parliament after six months, presumably after outcry by MPs and threats by Chiwenga.

The former Army General himself came to the National Assembly despite being the Acting President.