Speaker Mudenda Warns MPs Over Absenteeism: “Respect Taxpayers’

Jacob Mudenda
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HARARE, Zimbabwe — Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda issued a stern warning to absentee legislators on Wednesday, emphasizing the need for them to “respect taxpayers’ money” and attend to their parliamentary duties.

Mudenda cautioned that MPs who continue to disregard their constitutional obligations risk being “dealt with” according to Parliament’s standing rules and orders.

The Speaker’s rebuke came after the bells were rung twice due to the absence of a quorum in the House. MPs have often complained about Cabinet ministers not attending the Q&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,” Mudenda stated.

Mudenda reminded the legislators of their oath to uphold the Constitution and perform their duties faithfully. “That was the solemn affirmation oath that you made; to perform your duties is to be in the House until the House adjourns,” he emphasized.

He urged the Chief Whips to remind MPs of their responsibilities, noting that they are in Parliament at the behest of the people of Zimbabwe who cannot be physically present to represent themselves.

“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 behavior,” Mudenda warned. He acknowledged that his approach might be seen as harsh, but justified it as necessary on behalf of the Zimbabwean people.

Mudenda highlighted that some members had faced disciplinary action in the past for absenteeism and cautioned that further non-compliance would compel him to act.

“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,” he warned.

Mudenda concluded by appealing to the MPs to respond positively to his plea and adhere to their duties, warning that failure to do so would leave him no choice but to enforce disciplinary measures.