Sources confirmed this weekend that the “Back benchers and Front Benchers retreat” will be held at the Wild Geese Lodge in Harare on
Monday. Tsvangirai will present a keynote address, while the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo will also make a presentation on the roles and functions of MPs and ministers.
According to sources, the meeting seeks to draw the line between the executive and the legislature following recent misunderstandings
caused by investigations into dealings on Chiadzwa diamonds by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, whose
investigations almost opened a can of worms implicating senior government officials in shoddy dealings in the gems.
“The meeting will look at the rules and regulations of Parliament and Cabinet, the roles and functions of these two arms of government, the
accountability of ministers to parliament and generally how the August house should handle business of government” said the source.
“There are some ministers who have deliberately disregarded orders from portfolio committees, saying they were not answerable to them.
This has caused serious confusion, and it is even more complex for the PM because he is supposed to be the leader of government business in Parliament.”
Among other things, said the source, the meeting will define roles and functions of MPs and ministers. This is in response to recent
complaints by some ministers that Parliament was now over stepping on its role of being a watchdog on the executive.
“One such example is the current dispute around the Chiadzwa diamonds, where some members of Cabinet feel the Parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and is going beyond its limit by investigating ministers and calling for the release of sensitive information,” said the source.
It could not be immediately established if the meeting was in any way part of the “package of measures” adopted by Zimbabwe’s governing parties last Thursday following two day talks with South African President Jacob Zuma.