Chaos in Parly


HARARE - There was pandemonium in Parliament after National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda ejected opposition MDC Members of Parliament from the house for refusing to stand up in honour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Daily News can report.

Mnangagwa had come to the august House to listen to the 2019 National Budget presentation by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.

While Zanu PF MPs stood up in unison as the president made his way into the legislative assembly, legislators from the main opposition party remained seated as they continued with their disdain for Mnangagwa whom they accuse of rigging himself to power in the July 30 elections.

This did not go down well with Mudenda, who immediately ordered that the opposition MPs leave the House.

Defiant MDC MPs, led by the party’s chief whip Prosper Mutseyami, remained seated, unmoved by Mudenda’s call, prompting the Speaker to call in the services of the sergeant at arms to show them the exits.

As the sergeant at arms made his way towards the opposition bench, seven police officers followed behind him and all hell broke loose.

The police officers had a tough time in ejecting the lawmakers one-by-one as they fiercely resisted the law enforcement agents, resulting in some female legislators — including proportional representation MP Lynnet Karenyi-Kore — sustaining injuries.

With Karenyi-Kore lying flat on the floor, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda could be seen engaging in a tete-a-tete with Mudenda, with sources who were close to the two saying the Speaker was being advised that no law provides for MPs to stand up for the president.

But a visibly angry Mudenda would have none of it as he barked “Members on my left side you did not stand up when the president; walked in so can you please leave this house”.

Karenyi-Kore was injured on the back and left leg after she was dragged for several metres while lying on the floor, with her dignity violated after her inner body was revealed in the process.

She had to be taken to a private hospital for treatment.

After realising that they were losing the war, the law enforcement agents called in reinforcements and by the time they eventually managed to force the MPs out, no less than 20 officers were in the house with members of the presidential guard peeping through the door as they remained on high alert.

The chaos, which took more than 20 minutes to be contained, also saw some MPs, including Highfield East lawmaker Eric Murai, Mutasa South legislator Trevor Saruwaka and Mutseyami, being assaulted using open palms and clenched fists by members of the Central Intelligence Organisation outside the National Assembly.

The intelligence officers also roughed up Dzivaresekwa MP Edwin Mushoriwa and his Mkoba counterpart Amos Chibaya as well as Harare Central legislator Murisi Zwizwai.

Speaking to the Daily News outside the National Assembly in the aftermath of the melee, Mutseyami defended their actions, describing Mnangagwa as a “Zanu PF
president”.

“We did nothing wrong because when the Speaker came in, we stood up in honour but we could not do the same with Mnangagwa because we have issues that have not been resolved, including the dispute on who won the elections so we do not recognise him as State president until that is resolved,” Mutseyami vowed.

“We are going to continue like this. The Speaker got it all wrong and we are going to use parliamentary channels to have that corrected because there is no rule in the Standing Rules and Orders that compels us to stand up for Mnangagwa,” he charged.

Mudenda insisted that the opposition MPs’ behaviour was disrespectful and threatened to take corrective measures against them.

“I want to apologise to the president and everyone for the delays that have been caused although it was necessary because we cannot have MPs who refuse to respect the president.

“The international community has accepted that Mnangagwa is the head of State and no-one can take a different view. Administratively, we will take appropriate action,” he threatened.

Constitutional law expert Beatrice Mtetwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it will be legally difficult for Mudenda to act on the MPs without violating the doctrine of separation of powers.

“For me, it would immediately breach the principle of separation of powers that Parliament is an independent entity on its own and is not subservient to the Executive in the same way the Executive is not subservient to Parliament,” Mtetwa said.

“Parliament cannot bow down to the Executive like what we are currently seeing in the judiciary where it is increasingly speaking like the Executive. That is the last thing Zimbabweans would want to see.

“I don’t see how it happens that Mudenda can prefer contempt of Parliament charges against the MPs for not standing up to the Executive which they are not subservient to. That will be a first”.

The opposition party lost the bitterly contested July 30 election, which was only settled when the Constitutional Court dismissed a challenge by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa.

This is not the first time the MDC legislators have shown contempt for Mnangagwa as they walked out on him when he went to Parliament for his maiden State-of-the-Nation Address in August.

The MPs refused to stand as per tradition when Mnangagwa’s procession walked into the House, maintaining that the 76-year-old leader lacked legitimacy because of what they termed electoral theft by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Comments (1)

RETIREMENT AGE GARAZVIYA CHII? Mnangagwa must retire now .

TEAAA - 24 November 2018

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