PMs question time okayed

tsvangirai.jpeHARARE Parliament has approved proposals to have a Prime Minister's Question Time during which the Premier would respond to written questions submitted by members through the Speaker and the President of the Senate. (Pictured: PM Tsvangirai)

The proposal was first tabled by Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga before the House adjourned last December. Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe last Tuesday reintroduced the motion for the Prime Minister’s Question Time. But the motion was withdrawn on the advice of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who told the House that proposal to have the question time had already been approved.

Mutambara said: “The Standing Rules and Orders Committee met and addressed this matter and changed the rules so that there will be Prime Minister’s Question Time under the mandated rules of the House. So I move for the withdrawal of this motion.”

The Zimbabwean on Sunday heard that the Prime Ministers Question Time is likely be held once a month, lasting one hour in each House. The Prime Minister will spend an hour answering questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) and another hour in the upper house fielding questions from Senators.

Prime Minister’s Question Time is the political culture in Zimbabwe’s former colonial power Britain. The PM’s Question Time is expected to add natural drama to parliamentary sessions. Matinenga, who initially moved the motion, said the PM’s Question Time would enable the PM Morgan Tsvangirai “to provide information on the formulation and implementation of government policies and programmes.”

The plan seems to have cross-party support in the House, including from Zanu (PF). Backbench MPs wishing to ask questions must enter their names on the Order Paper. The names of MPs are shuffled in a ballot to produce a random order in which they will be called by Speaker Lovemore Moyo or Senate president Edna Madzonge in the Upper House.

The Speaker or Senate president will call on legislators to put their questions, usually in an alternating fashion: one MP from the Zanu (PF) bench will be followed by one from the MDC bench.

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