MDC plans to embarrass ED

HARARE - Opposition legislators are planning to humiliate President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he presents his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament today — as the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance continues to refuse to accept his July 30 poll victory.

This comes as opposition MPs also heckled and jeered Chief Justice Luke Malaba and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba last week, as the duo presided over the swearing-in of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, and his deputy.

Mnangagwa will present his Sona this afternoon as he opens the First session of the Ninth Parliament — following the recent hotly-disputed presidential election which cemented his leadership of the country, despite spirited attempts by Chamisa to overturn that victory.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, MDC MPs said they were pressing ahead with their plans to give Mnangagwa “a respectful welcome” in Parliament — “similar to what we gave to Malaba and Chigumba”.

They also said that since they still believed that Mnangagwa was in power “through devious means”, it was “impossible” for them to acknowledge him as Zimbabwe’s “legitimate” leader.

“We have always respected Parliament because since our party was formed, we have been a permanent feature of it ... but we do not recognise Mnangagwa as the legitimate president of this country.

“When he comes to Parliament tomorrow (today), we are going to give him a respectful welcome similar to what we gave to Malaba and Chigumba. That was respectful, wasn’t it?” one of the MPs quipped rhetorically.

During last week’s elections to choose the Speaker of the National Assembly, rowdy MDC MPs addressed Malaba in derogatory terms as they accused him of “stealing Chamisa’s vote” — following last month’s unanimous decision by the Constitutional Court to throw out the youthful opposition leader’s application to overturn Mnangagwa’s victory.

Apart from humiliating Malaba, the MPs also directed insults at Chigumba, whom they accused of having engineered the Zanu PF leader’s “poll fraud”.

But Mudenda warned the legislators yesterday against engaging in unruly behaviour and disrupting Mnangagwa’s address.

“I want to urge all MPs from across the political divide, as well as members of the public, to give due decorum and integrity to the institution of Parliament and also to treat the occasion with dignity to avoid the sad incidents which we endured last week,” Mudenda told the Daily News.

He also added that he was determined to avoid the continued embarrassment of officials in Parliament — which would see him holding a crucial meeting with both Zanu PF and MDC chief whips ahead of Mnangagwa’s Sona.

If the MDC MPs do go on to embarrass Mnangagwa, this would not be the first time that they would have done so against a sitting president.

Indeed, they had twice before gone against tradition by publicly humiliating ousted former president Robert Mugabe when he presented his Sona in the august House.

In unprecedented scenes in 2008, angry MDC MPs heckled and jeered Mugabe as he opened the second session of the 7th Parliament — following that year’s disputed poll.

That was after the results of polls a decade ago were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities — amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later revealed by former bigwigs of the ruling party.

In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed — forcing the former prime minister in the inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.

Mugabe embarrassingly went on to stand in a widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.

However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would have none of it, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five years, to prevent the country from imploding completely.

The MDC MPs again humiliated Mugabe in 2015 when they drowned his speech with noisy chants, as they protested his July 31, 2013 poll victory.

Apart from presenting his Sona, Mnangagwa — who celebrated his 76th birthday last Saturday — will also outline the country’s legislative agenda under his new administration.

This year’s Sona comes as Zimbabwe is in the grip of a worsening economic crisis which has seen prices of basic consumer goods skyrocketing in recent weeks.

The Zanu PF leader and his newly-formed Cabinet are thus under pressure to stop the economy from sliding back into the throes of an even bigger economic crisis, akin to the 2008 hyperinflation era.

Worried captains of industry have recently warned that the country’s deepening foreign currency crisis is making it difficult for manufacturers to import critical raw materials on time.

Last week, millers also confirmed that a bread crisis was looming as wheat stocks in the country had now reached critical levels.

Millions of Zimbabweans cast their vote in the historic July 30 elections, to choose both a new Parliament and president — following the dramatic fall from power of Mugabe in November last year.

The elections were the first since 1980 to be held in the country without Mugabe’s participation, whose 37-year iron-fisted rule was stunningly ended by a military operation which triggered events that ended with his resignation.

The elections also marked the first time that the main opposition MDC was not represented by Tsvangirai, who lost his brave battle with cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day this year.

Comments (2)

must leave & complain at harvest house since they were rejected by the rural vote who turn the majority & therefor represent the nation

addmore gudo - 19 September 2018

vakarambwa kuma misha uko,kune ruzhinji saka ngavaende vanochema vari ku harvest house kwavo kuti vasingagutsikani kwete mu parlamende medu tinoda ma professionals vanotinyadzisa ne dzimwe nyika dzinoziva democracy

addmore gudo - 19 September 2018

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