HARARE - Parliament is saddled with a motion backlog burden cutting across all committees of the august House because of MPs flagrantly bunking business, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has said.
Petitions, motions and bills are gathering dust on committees’ desks.
The days of MPs getting away with missing parliamentary sittings should become a thing of the past, Mudenda said yesterday while responding to a concern by parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development chaired by Zanu PF Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna.
The committee had two reports that have been on the order paper for a long time because Parliament has been forced to adjourn because of lack of quorum as MPs walk out during sessions.
This comes as most MPs have developed a propensity to forego meetings of Parliament, while some take leave during session time.
A snap shot of the House on any given sitting demonstrates that more often than not the majority benches are sparsely occupied.
“Honourable members must stay here to complete the business of the House and I hope today you will make a difference and stay here for as long as possible so that we can clear the outstanding motions because the order paper is getting too voluminous,” Mudenda said, adding the MPs’ presence was important to allow ministers to hear their questions and respond accordingly.
“I appeal to you to stay put here in the interest of the fact that you represent your constituencies, so let us respect the electorate who voted us into office.”
Nduna had raised a point of order admonishing MPs for dereliction of their duties, only sitting through the entire sitting of Parliament when the Finance Bill is being passed “because we fear that the president will dissolve Parliament if we do not pass it”.
MPs have in the past urged Mudenda to prefer contempt of Parliament charges on ministers who avoid the Wednesday question and answer session, prompting him to read the riot act.