Chaos rocks Zimbabwe parliament

CHAOS rocked the House of Assembly on Tuesday after MDC-T MPs protested over the refusal by the Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, to grant Gweru Urban MP Sesel Zvidzai permission to give notice to introduce a motion on elections, reports NewsDay in Harare.

Zanu PF legislators rebuked Zvidzai while he tried to introduce his motion, but MDC-T MPs shot back, plunging the whole House into chaos.

Zvidzai wanted to give notice to compel the House to set up a committee to investigate the manner in which the July 31 elections were handled, vis-à-vis Sadc norms and guidelines, and timeous availability of the voters’ roll.

Midway as he tried to introduce his motion, Mudenda asked Zvidzai to take his seat and said he should withdraw the motion until further notice.

“Honourable member, having listened carefully to the motion, I am inclined to look at the constitutionality of your motion and I beg leave from you to withdraw that motion until we have studied it properly in terms of the provisions of the Constitution,” Mudenda said.

MDC-T MPs were not amused by the ruling and they started singing a Ndebele song Into oyenzayo siyayizonda (We do not like what you are doing), while chief whips Innocent Gonese (MDC-T) and Joram Gumbo (Zanu PF), leader of the opposition Thokozani Khupe and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma approached the Speaker’s bench to deliberate on the issue.

As MDC-T MPs sang, Zanu PF legislators hit back and started their own tune, Zimbabwe ndeyeropa (Zimbabwe came by blood), bringing the whole House into chaos.

Gonese then raised a point of order with the Speaker challenging his decision to thwart the introduction of Zvidzai’s motion.

“I wish to respectfully point out that the honourable member followed all procedures in this House. We modified the motion with the Counsel to Parliament and yesterday I checked with the Clerk of Parliament, who said the motion was in order and it is on that basis that the MP is putting that motion. Due processes and procedure were followed and it is not appropriate for the MP to be asked to defer the motion,” Gonese said.

He said the MDC-T had spent two weeks modifying the motion to ensure it was in accordance with the rules and regulations of Parliament.

“MDC-T members believe it is only appropriate for the House to briefly adjourn so that the Speaker can then guide us,” he said. Mudenda ruled Gonese out of order and said he had powers to thwart any motion.

“The decisions and admissibility of motions rests finally with the Speaker. The motion Zvidzai brought forward was not cancelled, but merely deferred so that the Speaker can have a close look at it and then all things being equal, it shall be presented,” Mudenda said.

After his ruling, the House continued with its business.

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