AN­AR­CHY IN PAR­LIA­MENT

Scuf­fle in au­gust House as MDC-T MPs re­sist col­league’s ejec­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Zva­maida Mur­wira

A SCUF­FLE erupted yes­ter­day in the Na­tional As­sem­bly be­tween MDC-T leg­is­la­tors and the Zim­babwe Repub­lic Po­lice after law en­force­ment agents moved into the cham­ber to en­force a di­rec­tive by Deputy Speaker Cde Ma­bel Chi­nomona to eject a leg­is­la­tor who was not prop­erly dressed.

MDC-T MPs ganged up to re­sist a di­rec­tive by Cde Chi­nomona to have Budiriro MP Mr Costa Machin­gauta leave the cham­ber to go and dress prop­erly after he came into the au­gust House don­ning a jacket made of na­tional flag colours.

This was after Zvisha­vane-Ngezi MP Mr John Holder (Zanu-PF) rose on a point of or­der say­ing Mr Machin­gauta’s dress­ing was not con­sis­tent with Par­lia­men­tary deco­rum.

Cde Chi­nomona di­rected Mr Machin­gauta to leave and re­turn when he was prop­erly dressed.

Mr Machin­gauta ini­tially re­sponded by protest­ing that last week Cde Chi­no­mana had al­lowed Bin­dura South MP Cde Remi­gious Matan­gira (Zanu-PF) in the cham­ber while don­ning a sa­fari suit.

Other MDC-T MPs joined to re­sist the di­rec­tive re­sult­ing in the Sergeant At Arms, Mr Ni­cholas Marufu, mov­ing in to eject Mr Machin­gauta who was re­sist­ing.

Mr Marufu then called ZRP of­fi­cers who came num­ber­ing 10, set­ting the stage for a full fledged scuf­fle and com­mo­tion in full view of Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and other Cabi­net Min­is­ters.

MDC-MPs, who in­cluded Trevor Saruwaka (Mu­tasa South), Alexio Musundire (Zengeza East), God­frey Sithole (Chi­tung­wiza North), Prince Sibanda (Binga North), Pros­per Mut­seyami (Musika­vanhu), among oth­ers cre­ated a shield around Mr Machin­gauta who had by then lay on the seat as part of a way to re­sist being pushed out of the cham­ber.

ZRP of­fi­cers strug­gled to break the bar­rier as they were sub­dued, re­sult­ing in more de­tails join­ing in, thereby cre­at­ing chaotic scenes char­ac­terised by push­ing and shov­ing re­sult­ing in dam­age to some mi­cro­phone elec­tri­cal gad­gets in the process.

The com­mo­tion, rem­i­nis­cent of a wrestling match, de­gen­er­ated into a free for all as more MDC-T MPs joined to pro­tect Mr Machin­gauta, by ei­ther cre­at­ing a shield around him or push­ing and shov­ing po­lice de­tails in scenes that lasted about 20 min­utes.

As po­lice called for re­in­force­ments, they even­tu­ally broke the bar­rier and dragged Mr Machin­gauta out of the cham­ber.

After the ejec­tion, Cde Chi­nomona said in terms of the rules, it was an of­fence where a leg­is­la­tor could be sus­pended for dis­rupt­ing the busi­ness of the House.

The com­mo­tion ate into Ques­tion Time that was sup­posed to com­mence at 3.15PM as it lasted about one-and-a-half hours.

Leg­is­la­tors from across the di­vide then traded ac­cu­sa­tions, with Zvimba East MP Cde Francis Muk­wang­wariwa (Zanu-PF) al­leg­ing that two po­lice of­fi­cers had been as­saulted by Binga North MP Mr Sibanda and Binga South MP Mr Gab­buza Joel Gab­buza.

MDC-T Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion MP Mrs Su­san Mat­sunga al­leged that some po­lice of­fi­cers had fon­dled her breasts.

“I’m not a whore but some po­lice of­fi­cer fon­dled my breasts,” said Mrs Mat­sunga, amid sob­bing, draw­ing the at­ten­tion of leg­is­la­tors.

Bu­l­awayo Metropoli­tan MP Ms Lwazi Sibanda (MDC-T) com­plained that her clothes had been torn.

Cde Chi­nomona said Par­lia­ment lead­er­ship would study video ev­i­dence to es­tab­lish what tran­spired and take cor­rec­tive ac­tion.

Kuwadzana East MP Mr Nel­son Chamisa said there was no le­gal pro­vi­sion that war­ranted the use of po­lice to en­force a di­rec­tive. “MPs are sup­posed to be re­spected and the is­sue of dress­ing can­not be cured by sum­mon­ing po­lice of­fi­cers. Un­til we get an ex­pla­na­tion, we’re un­likely to co-op­er­ate with the chair. Why were po­lice of­fi­cers brought here vi­o­lently and yet we know that there are crim­i­nals out there in­clud­ing min­is­ters? We will not al­low you to make a rul­ing that ousts the rules,” said Mr Chamisa.

The MDC-T MPs even­tu­ally left the cham­ber en masse, leav­ing Zanu-PF leg­is­la­tors to con­duct Ques­tion Time.

Mrs Su­san Mat­sunga cries after al­legedly being fon­dled by po­lice of­fi­cers VP Mnan­gagwa in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day

MDC-T leg­is­la­tors protest in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day

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