Mudenda tells MPs snubbing Parliament to “respect taxpayers’ money”

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By Anna Chibamu

PARLIAMENT Speaker Jacob Mudenda has issued a stern warning to legislators not turning up for the August House business telling them to “respect taxpayers money”.

Mudenda on Wednesday warned the MPs they risked being “dealt with” according to Parliament’s standing rules and orders if they continued disobeying the constitution.

The Speaker had no kind words for the legislators as the bells were rung twice due to the absence of a quorum.

MPs normally complain to Mudenda when Cabinet ministers do not attend the Q and A session on Wednesdays.

“Hon. Members, yesterday in the afternoon, after I had left the Chamber and the Hon. Deputy Speaker was presiding, assisted by members of the Speaker’s Panel; the bells had to be rung twice because there was no quorum in the House.

“When you made your oath or affirmation, you said, ‘I will be faithful to Zimbabwe and that I will uphold the Constitution and other laws of Zimbabwe; and that I will perform my duties as a Member of the National Assembly faithfully and to the best of my ability.’

“That was the solemn affirmation oath that you made; to perform your duties is to be in the House until the House adjourns.

“I have asked the Chief Whips to appeal to you to observe your oaths of office simply because you are here at the grace of those members of our society, the people of Zimbabwe who gave us the opportunity to come, serve and represent them because all of them could not be in the Chamber of Parliament for that matter, and we are here at the taxpayer’s money,” Mudenda said.

He went further, “I have the means in terms of Standing Order Number 215, to apply some measures which I hope can result in some remedial correction of such untoward behaviour.

“Some of you may say I am harsh. Indeed I will be harsh on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. That is my responsibility. When I leave the Chair, I go to my office, I do not go home, and I follow proceedings from my office until the House is adjourned. I could easily leave the Chamber and go home to relax, but that is not how it should be,” he reminded the members.

He told them that some members had gone through some disciplinary action before over absenteeism.

“If I apply Standing Order Number 215, some of you have tested that and you will regret it. I do not want to put in place measures that will dictate who is who, and who does the absconding.

“Today I am merely appealing to you and through the Chief Whips who I believe have spoken to you. I hope you will respond positively to the appeal.  If there is no change, I will be forced to act accordingly,” added Mudenda.