Parly sets up committee to investigate MDC MPs boycotts
Harare(New Ziana)-The Parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday appointed a ten- member committee to investigate the boycott of sittings by MDC-Alliance legislators whenever President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends special sessions.
Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi raised the issue on November 14 this year when MDC-A legislators absconded presentation of the 2020 National Budget-an event attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Despite losing a court challenge of the outcome of last year’s Presidential election, the opposition party insists that its leader Nelson Chamisa was cheated of victory and therefore will not recognise President Mnangagwa.
This is also in spite of the endorsement of the election and its outcome by various local, regional and international poll observer missions.
The 2020 Budget presentation boycott was the third by MDC parliamentarians as last year they walked out of President Mnangagwa while he was delivering his inaugural State of the Nation Address during the opening of the Ninth Session of Parliament.
Togarepi found the behaviour of the MDC legislators to be ‘grossly disrespectful’ to the office and person of the Head of State and Government and also undermining the dignity and integrity of the August House and raised the issue.
Announcing the ruling, Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda said the committee was expected to come up with corrective ‘punitive’ measures against the errant opposition MPS.
“Subsequently, the chair rules that there existed a prima facie case of contempt of Parliament and accordingly, the House resolved that the committee on Standing Rules and Orders appoints a Privileges Committee to investigate how the members of the MDC- A in Parliament and come up with corrective punitive measures,” Advocate Mudenda said.
The committee is chaired by lawyer, Mudzi South legislator Jonathan Samkange. Other committee members include Omega Hungwe, Cecil Kashiri, Kindness Paradza and Priscilla Misihairabwi – Mushonga.
Its terms and reference of the committee include to investigate the conduct of MDC-A MPs in consecutive instances whereby they did not rise for the President, walked out of Parliament when the Head of State was delivering a speech or did not bother to attend Parliament when the President attended.
The committee was also tasked with establishing whether such conduct constitutes contempt of Parliament.
“Any other incidences that may arise in investigations and to report its findings to the House by 28 February 2020,” said Mudenda.
Proportional Representation MP Priscilla MisihaIrambwi-Mushonga declined appointment into the committee saying she was “conflicted”.