Zimbabwe News

Jacob Mudenda threatens to punish MPs absconding parliament sessions

Jacob Mudenda, the Speaker of the National Assembly, has warned legislators going out of Parliament sessions affecting the required quorum that they will be punished.

Mudenda made the remarks after the bells had to be rung twice on Tuesday (14 May 2024) as there was no quorum in the house.

The National Assembly, which has a total of 280 MPs, requires about 70 legislators (quorum) to be in the house for it to conduct its businesses.

Mudenda warned the parliamentarians that this behaviour will not be tolerated as it is unfair to the electorate and the taxpayers who foot Parliament bills.

Below is the full text of Mudenda’s comments (via OpenParly):

THE HON. SPEAKER: 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.

Hon. Members, 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 or in Parliament for that matter, and we are here at the taxpayer’s money.

Therefore, we need to respect that authority we derive from the people. I have appealed to the Chief Whips that they appeal to you to attend religiously to Parliamentary business. 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.

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, 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.

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