HARARE – Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi squared off with the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on Tuesday after he was ordered to leave the National Assembly.

Ziyambi, the leader of government business in the house, had been expected to move a motion on a law for the provision of land tenure security. He decided that his deputy Norbet Mazungunye would do so instead.

Mudenda would have none of it and demanded to know why Ziyambi would not table the motion himself.

Zanu PF chief whip, attempting to offer an excuse for Ziyambi, said the minister wanted to go to the Senate, but was corrected by the minister who said he wanted to “converse with those” while pointing at the back – which he later clarified was a reference to his staff.

“There is no rule that says the deputy minister cannot move the motion,” Ziyambi insisted.

“Your private conversation minister does not take precedence,” Mudenda shot back.

“Where is the private conversation?” Ziyambi asked.

At that point, Mudenda ordered: “Honourable minister, can you leave the house!”

Ziyambi protested that Mudenda’s ruling was “not correct.”

“Why are you saying I should leave the house? Ah no!”

Ziyambi and Togarepi then approached Mudenda’s chair to continue the protest. Mudenda’s microphone was initially live as an angry Ziyambi demanded to know what rule says a deputy minister can’t move a motion when a minister is present.

Mudenda claimed this was in “section 107 of the constitution” and Ziyambi challenged him to open it. Mudenda moved his hand to pick up the constitution but did not open it.

“You were harsh,” Ziyambi told Mudenda, his colleague in the Zanu PF politburo. “It’s not correct Mr Speaker to embarrass your own minister.”

Mudenda’s microphone was then turned off as the conversation continued.

A visibly angry Ziyambi subsequently left the National Assembly.