Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti today said the 2023 budget could not be debated in the absence of Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube or his deputy Clemence Chiduwa.
When told by the deputy Speaker of Parliament Tsitsi Gezi that the leader of government business, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi was in the House taking notes on behalf of Ncube, Biti responded: “Hakusi kufudza mombe, the Minister must come and listen, it is a technical area. He must respect this august House.”
The debate,however,proceeded with Josiah Sithole presenting the report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.
HON. BITI: On a point of order. We are not seeing the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Ncube. He has to respond. The Minister must respect this budget and this august House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of Government Business and Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi will be taking notes on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development – [HON.MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. BITI: Hakusi kufudza mombe, the Minister must come and listen, it is a technical area. He must respect this august House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We also have Ministry officials who are also taking notes on behalf of the Minister.
Hon. Biti and Hon. Gonese were asked to approach the Chair.
– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, may we have order in the House.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I rise to present a report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Publicity and Media Broadcasting Services on behalf of the Chairperson, Hon. Mokone.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. In the absence of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, let us allow the Chairpersons to just submit the reports since we are not going to debate them. They should just submit them and the Minister will read those reports.
HON. T. MLISWA: I rise to take note of those who have not collected their USD40 000. Please, let us meet outside so that I compile that list – [Laughter.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please take your seat Hon. Mliswa.
HON. T. MLISWA: No, it was on a lighter note, to be honest with you, I think we must take this budget seriously. The first thing is that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Deputy Minister are not here and the Permanent Secretary is not here as well. The second issue is that Ministers and Deputy Ministers responsible for these portfolios like Information, Broadcasting and Media Services are not here. The Chairpersons of Portfolio Committees are not here, we cannot undermine authority to such a point. Madam Speaker, may I propose that those substantive Chairpersons who are here be given a chance to read. Like in this case, there was no reason given for the Chairperson why she is not here. At least she could have said I am giving a report for the Chairperson who is not well or who is somewhere.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, please may we behave like Hon. Members of Parliament. Why are you making a lot of noise?
Hon. Biti having stood up
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no, you cannot stand on another point of order Hon. Biti, you are a seasoned Parliamentarian, please switch off the microphone. -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-Order, order, may we have order in the House. Hon. Mliswa, the presentation of a Chairperson presenting is not different from the presentation of any other Committee member presenting on behalf of the Chairperson. Please allow Hon. Sithole to continue with his presentation – [HON, MEMBERS: Achiudza ani?] – Achiudza imimi nemamwe ma Ministers arimo! [HON. MUNENGAMI: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Munengami, if you continue with such behaviour, I will send you out.