Political Correspondent

Running like a sole trader where everything comes to a standstill during his/ her absence, that has been how President Robert Mugabe has been running this country, amid revelations that the House of the National Assembly does not have a deputy leader.

The leader of parliament business in Zimbabwe is Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa; MPs yesterday expressed concern over the non availability of a deputy leader to take care of business in the absence of the VP.

Hon Fani Munengami brought the issue asking the Deputy Speaker of the House as to who was the acting leader of parliament business in the absence of V P Mnangagwa.

“Can this House be accorded an opportunity to know who the Acting Leader of the House is, because we have some pertinent issues to ask as far as government business is concerned. We do not know who the Acting Leader of the House is for now,” he asked.

The Deputy Speaker, Hon Mabel Chinomona, answered that there was no one and that it was not the duty of the House to appoint one. “There is no one who is acting leader of the House. So can we proceed with Questions without Notice,” the Acting Speaker said.

Munengami answered back, saying that even the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda is on record saying in the absence of the Leader of Parliament business there should be someone to act in that capacity so that he responds to questions.

The Acting Speaker said the appointing authority who is Mugabe is the only one to appoint a deputy leader of government business.

Hon Prince Sibanda weighed in saying although the Speaker had responded well, it still remains critical that there should be one. “You have correctly answered that we can’t appoint. But I think it is the responsibility of the Chair to find out from the appointing authority who has been appointed the Acting Leader of the House because it is necessary that we have one,” he told the House.

Feeling the heat, the Deputy speaker, then gave in; “That is fine. I think I hear your point of order that we find out whether there is a Deputy Leader of the House who will be acting on behalf of the leader of the House. Up to now we do not have anyone,” she said.

Mugabe has been running the country in the same manner, where his absence stalls everything, and his deputies have been reluctant to make choices in his absence. At some instance where they could have done so, he would reverse their decisions on his return.