Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
MDC Alliance legislators will not receive their sitting allowances for the past five months after they walked out of the National Assembly chamber when President Mnangagwa was about to present his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Harare yesterday.
The MPs had also refused to stand when the President walked into the chamber as required by Parliament’s decorum.
The ruling was made by Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda in his capacity as Head of Parliament after the presentation of the SONA which also coincided with the opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.
“The behaviour which has been demonstrated by the honourables who walked out when His Excellency the President started to speak shall not be allowed to come back during this sitting today and accordingly, they will not receive their sitting allowances today and also I am aware that they put together a pay sheet for the past outstanding sitting allowances for the past five months,” he said.
“I want that pay sheet withdrawn from the Ministry of Finance. Effectively it means no payment for today’s (yesterday’s) sitting and the five others that were outstanding. If this unpalatable behaviour persists then more drastic action shall be taken as guided by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”
The MPs receive $700 per sitting.
Adv Mudenda also instructed Parliament administration to identify the MDC Alliance MPs that were present during yesterday’s sitting.
“I am instructing that the administration of Parliament to use our attendance register and the clinical inspection of the camera evidence to come up with the names of those members who did not show respect by sitting down when His Excellency the President came into this August House,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said he had warned both Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance legislators about their behaviour in a meeting he had with their leadership on Monday.
“After having summoned all the whips (Cde Pupurai Togarepi and Mr Prosper Mutseyami) led by the Government chief whip, the leader of Government in the House, Ziyambi Ziyambi and leader of the opposition (Ms Tabitha Khumalo), I made an appeal that we need to respect the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of our Defence Forces who in terms of the Constitution represents the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe across the board and secondly, indicated to them that the legislature is composed of His Excellency, the President and Parliament,” he said.
“Parliament being composed of the National Assembly and the Senate, this institution of the legislature represents the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe. As elected members we have taken the oath of office here in this August House to respect the laws and the Constitution of Zimbabwe and by extension the people of Zimbabwe from whom according to the Constitution, the legislative assembly derives its authority.
“On that account, thereupon, the processes that take place in Parliament must be respected completely without any reservations. I indicated to the meeting that I don’t want to be forced to make unpalatable decisions. So the concerned members did not respect the decorum and dignity of the House in the presence of His Excellency the President.”
The MDC Alliance has been refusing to recognise President Mnangagwa’s electoral victory in last year’s election despite also losing their challenge at the Constitutional Court.
Analysts believe the MDC Alliance legislators are merely pandering to the whims and caprices of their foreign handlers who are keen to have the country remain in election mode so that no meaningful development takes place until the next poll in 2023 where they hope to have a message to sell to their gullible voters. Chronicle