By Anna Chibamu
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has reversed his decision to bar opposition MDC MPs from posing question to Cabinet Ministers as punishment for disrespecting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mudenda told lawmakers during the question and answer session on Tuesday, that he had made the decision to reverse his ruling basing on the fact that this would paralyse Parliament business and was not in compliance with the Constitution’.
“It is the role of Parliament to protect and uphold the provisions of the Constitution. The Chair (Mudenda) has subsequently reflected on the matter and makes the following ruling:
“Subject to the Provisions of Standing Orders 62 Subsection (2) and 64, as part of members’ of the House oversight representative roles, honourable members are obliged to pose questions with or without notice to vice presidents, ministers and deputy ministers,” Mudenda said.
“This happens every Wednesday afternoon during private members business in the National Assembly and on Thursday’s in the Senate. They also raise issues for debate in the House by way of asking questions which need to be responded to by ministers. Ministers must respond comprehensively.”
He added “This is a constitutional obligation imposed by the Constitution on both Members of Parliament and the Ministers. It is for this reason that our standing orders create a chance for them to reach constitutional obligations, failure of which may result in contempt charges.”
Mudenda said it was on this premise that he had reversed his decision.
“Accordingly, my ruling of the 23rd of October, 2019 is hereby suspended to avoid any paralysis of the Parliamentary processes. I so rule,” said Mudenda.
MDC lawmakers were last month barred from asking any questions to President Mnangagwa’s Ministers after Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi requested Mudenda’s guidance given the opposition has refused to recognise the Zanu PF leader as legitimate President of the country arguing he stole last year’s presidential elections.
In the past 12 months MDC MPs have walked out on Mnangagwa twice.
Meanwhile, the opposition MPs over the weekend vowed to continue disrespecting the President again.