Mudenda blocks Mugabe criticism

SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda last week left opposition MPs frustrated when he persistently shot down their questions on whether President Robert Mugabe would now abandon his costly trips for treatment abroad and if he had also surrendered his job to his wife.

Is Grace now in control? ... MDC-T MP for Warren Park Elias Mudzuri

Is Grace now in control? … MDC-T MP for Warren Park Elias Mudzuri

Joined by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Mudenda stifled the contributions from the MDC MPs.

First to have his comments dismissed was Glen View North MP, Fani Munengami, who asked, during the question and answer session, if Mugabe would continue seeking medical services abroad.

This was after health and child care deputy minister, Aldrin Musiiwa, had assured the house the country was now well equipped to perform heart surgery.

“Are we implying that even the Head of State and Government is no longer going to go out of the country to receive treatment but receive treatment in the country since we now have all the equipment we want,” Munengami asked.

“Your question is misdirected,” Mudenda interjected.

“The way you are saying is that the Head of State and Government should not go out of the country.

“You are talking about people who are suffering from cardiac related illnesses.

“We should treat our Head of State and Government with respect. Who told you that he is suffering from heart related disease?”

Second to see his contribution overruled was Warren Park MP, Elias Mudzuri, who asked if the 92-year-old leader was still in charge of the country after his wife told a rally over a week ago that she was “ruling” the country.

“…As parliament,” Mudzuri said, “we have a responsibility to check on the Executive to ensure that the president plays his role without interference or disharmony.

“The people of Zimbabwe are confused as to who is running the country.”

But Mudenda would have none of it.

“We are not here to follow some political jest and it is common cause that we still have one President in Zimbabwe.

“What happens at rallies, whether for this or that party has nothing to do with parliament business here,” he said.

However, Mabvuku-Tafara MP, James Maridadi, insisted the question was pertinent but Mudenda was quick to also shut him down.

“I have ruled already on that one. I told you very clearly that we do not discuss political speeches of political parties in this House.”

Mudenda was certainly not the last one to shield Mugabe.

Eddie Cross asked Chinamasa whether Grace’s recent tours to the country’s provinces were catered for by the State, and if so, how much the state had incurred as well as “the extent and justification of such expenditure”.

Chinamasa, on his part, cleverly ducked the question.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, my apologies, I do not have the answer to this question ready and I crave the indulgence of the Hon. Member to give me more time,” he said.

Criticism against President Mugabe has now become a very dangerous act with opposition MPs last year receiving death threats for heckling the veteran leader during a speech presentation in the House.

Mudenda is yet to respond to opposition demands for President Mugabe to come to parliament regularly to face questions from backbenchers.



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