MPs walk out of Parly in ED protest

HARARE - There are fears of a “complete breakdown” in relations between the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC as opposition legislators launched a campaign of parliamentary guerrilla tactics to cause maximum disruption to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State opening of Parliament yesterday.

Thabitha Khumalo, the MDC national chairperson, said it could no longer be “business as usual” between the MDC and Zanu PF after what she described as a “power grab” by the Mnangagwa government which it insists stole the July 30 harmonised elections.

The State opening of the ninth Parliament descended into pandemonium after MDC MPs walked out en masse as part of a protest over claims the president was not legitimately elected on July 30. But the MDC was accused by the ruling party of being “locked in a toxic trajectory.”

“We hope that over time they will come to their senses, it’s not about grandstanding but building the country together,” Zanu PF chief whip Pupurayi Togarepi said.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Energy Mutodi tweeted: “President Mnangagwa makes his move. Addresses a joint sitting of National Assembly & Senate. Meanwhile, as we predicted MDC MPs storm out. They came to Parliament only to sleep in hotels and get fuel coupons leaving the business they were elected for. Shame!

After a day of high parliamentary drama, Mnangagwa exhorted the opposition in his speech to a Zanu PF caucus to be forward looking and start the motions to revive the stuttering economy.

“The election period is decisively behind us. It is now time for us as members of Parliament and political leaders to exert our efforts towards delivering promises we made to the electorate,” Mnangagwa said in his speech. 

The MDC caucus flatly refused to recognise Mnangagwa as the country’s elected, walking out on him as he took his seat in the Speaker’s chair just before presenting his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament.

The incident occurred a week after opposition legislators had also heckled and jeered Chief Justice Luke Malaba and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba as the duo presided over the swearing-in of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, his deputy Tsitsi Gezi, Senate President Mable Chinomona and her deputy Mike Nyambuya.

It had always looked likely that the Chamisa-led MDC which continues to refuse to accept his July 30 poll victory would carry through their plan to humiliate Mnangagwa as they remained seated as the Zanu PF leader walked into the august House even as Zanu PF MPs stood up to recognise his presence.

The moment he commenced his address, the legislators led by Mutare Central MP Prosper Mutseyami, who is the party’s chief whip in the National Assembly, stood up in unison and quietly walked out.

As they walked out, their Zanu PF counterparts who had failed to find seats in the bloated house gladly took their seats.

What precipitated the walkout was Mnangagwa’s reference to the elections which he described them as “free fair and credible”, much to the chagrin of the MDC MPs who immediately left, leaving him to address only the ruling party legislators.

Addressing the media outside Parliament where the legislators picketed as they danced and sang anti-Mnangagwa songs, MDC vice president Morgen Komichi said they had taken the drastic action to show their disdain for “illegitimate” Mnangagwa.

“This action is emanating from our desire to show to the world that we do not recognise the illegitimate Mnangagwa who instead of getting the mandate to rule from the people of Zimbabwe, got his from Zec and the Con-Court,” Komichi said.

Mutseyami added that the party would continue to show their contempt for Mnangagwa at every platform they get.

“We will continue to demonstrate like this at various platforms, here in Parliament, in the various local authorities and everywhere else you can imagine and we will do that peacefully until the legitimacy issues arising from the stolen election are resolved. We simply do not recognise him because as far as we know, the leader who was elected by the people is …Chamisa,” Mutseyami said.

Outside Parliament, the MPs continued singing and as Mnangagwa drove away after his speech, with the legislators booing his motorcade as they shouted “mbavha yemaelections, mbavha yemaelections (elections thief).”

Apparently, Zanu PF had also organised its supporters to counter the MDC MPs as they sang outside the building, mocking Chamisa

The MDC legislators only went back into the house after Mnangagwa had left. This was not the first time that the country’s biggest opposition party has 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.

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.

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 (11)

Well done MDC ALLIANCE MPs. The country needs a True Leader from the people. Why was the liberation war fought if there is no democracy in ZIMBABWE.It`s a shame that the country`s highest courts are descredited by being caused to legitimise the illegitimate .let us not legitimise the illegitimate untill victory is worn ! ALUTA CONTINUA !

cde Justice - 19 September 2018

Walking out of parliament will never serve any purpose besides wasting time and taxpayers money.The election results will never change.The mdc must start preparing for 2023 elections now.

wise - 19 September 2018

The walkout was ill-advised and a mockery to the people who voted these MPs into office. Elections are now behind us and focus on collectively rebuilding the nation. Nothing is going to change in the next 5 years. Mps should put interests of the people first ahead of personal interests.

Wasting Time - 19 September 2018

What DIALOGUE is Chamisa asking for if they walk out of a venue created for civil engagement, debate and interaction! The PEOPLE of Zimbabwe deserve to hear from these elected persons what they are saying about solving the country's problems. AND NOW YOU WALK OUT! Where and when are you going to start tackling the issues that Zimbabweans are facing? Chamisa, this is demagoguery, its puerile. You cannot get the power thru such confrontational tactics, look at what the riots you incited brought- six deaths! Don't you think that this walking out will just perpetuate the suffering of the masses that you claim to represent? You are behaving like a typical REBEL OUTFIT!!

Will Blackman - 19 September 2018

To copy Odinga on a fake inaguration of loser as Winner. If you lost both parliamentary and Council election how do you win the presidential? Now you copy Malema who said accept the result by traying chaos. I am sure the same MPs will cue for cars after a flawed election. They have signed to be paid. Zimbabwe will not be fooled for long. You are losing the next election because you have nothing to offer. Go to Congress and elect a leader with brains. You bullied Khupe but ZANU is maid of sterner. Tell Chamisa gandanga haridye muriwo! The President has warned if you choose chaos law and order will prevail!

Mufaro Sibanda - 19 September 2018

Please we did not vote u into parliament to be walking out you need to be standing up as leaders chosen by the pple and stand up for the pple saka muchapedza 5 years walking out of parliament here ?I know you feel our president was Robbed of his presidency but jes do things differently and stand up for the pple of Zimbabwe who are out there without anything ,imi chero mukabuda muparliament you will still get your pay

anthony munetsi - 19 September 2018

childish ,,,hazvibvise zanu pachigaro zvekuita walkout ,,sey vamwe vanhu vakapusa kudayi

manera - 20 September 2018

Musavukure zvamusingazive heee hazvibvise zanu pachigaro hee they are childish hee they are waisting time these are lawmakers they know what they are doing leave them alone even the ruling party knows the effect of that but they won't tell you because of your small minds in politics that's why you are barking this and that if you were in real politics you wouldn't understand

Innocent - 20 September 2018

Be careful MDC, you are sinking and sinking fast! If your intention is sincerely to rebuild the country then you need to be there to participate and contribute ideas. What you're doing clearly exposes you to a bunch of power-hungry inhumane creatures! We are seeing you and you're losing your the time the election is held you'll be lucky to manage half the numbers in parly! Show us why the people should have voted for you undisputed.

SinkingShip - 20 September 2018

"Innocent" my brother, the MDC Alliance has no critical mass in parliament, walking out only exposes them as selfish, immature, lacking wisdom and strategy and taking for granted their constituencies who got them into the august house. Hon Temba Mliswa, though a one man band, has made positive contribution with his participation in parliamentary proceedings. How are you going to address electoral and other reforms if you are not in parliament?

Daniel 5 - 20 September 2018

MDC, please grow up. Politics of copying from external environments, Kenya and South Africa, will not work in Zimbabwe. For you, the best thing is debate in the parliament, make sure that ZANU PF that is accountable. If government promises to resurface the Beitbridge road, you should put pressure on them until they do that. How would you do that if you walk out, SICK people. People need to hear debating in parliament, contributing to the rebuilding of the country. You received people's votes so that you can represent them. If not interested, in the coming elections, then people will just vote for ZANU PF. MDC president, not the best president for the party, the same thing with the people who advise him. Get rid of all these people. He does not have the capacity to think on his own in a mature way. Yes, of course he thinks, but his thinking is of little value.

Bori - 21 September 2018

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