Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda has told legislators that do not take Parliament business seriously to resign from their seats. He said he will issue a statement next week outlining measures to be taken against those that continue to absent themselves from the House’s business. Advocate Mudenda said this during a pre-budget briefing in Harare today.
“On Tuesday (next week) I am going to make a statement on attendance in the House,” he said. “We have to take parliamentary business seriously because of the mandate we have from the electorate. So, if there is going to be a pinch or a bite do not cry. “If you have so many things to do, please resign from your Parliament seat.
On Thursday last week the National Assembly had to adjourn early after the number of legislators present failed to reach a quorum. At least 70 MPs should be present at any given time to make up the quorum. The adjournment happened during debate on the General Laws Amendment Bill presented by Vice President and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Bill was at the committee stage and the debate was only concluded on Tuesday this week. On Wednesday, debate had to be stopped briefly after the legislators present were below the quorum. Last year, Advocate Mudenda warned parliamentarians that were in the habit of attending Parliament briefly for the purposes of having their names registered and leave to do their personal businesses.
Parliamentarians are supposed to give a notice if they are not available for business, while those who absent themselves without leave from the Speaker for 21 consecutive days risk losing their seats.