NATIONAL Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda caused a storm in the house when he deferred Gweru urban MDC-T MP Sesel Zvidzai’s motion calling for a debate on the Sadc Election Observer Mission Report, particularly the shortfalls of the July 31 poll, prompting protests from the opposition legislators.
Parliament business came to a stop for about 20 minutes as both sides protested in song and dance.
MDC-T members were singing the popular Ndebele song Into Oyenzayo Siyayizonda (we hate what you are doing) in protest against Mudenda’s decision. Zanu PF backbenchers retorted with the song Zimbabwe Ndeyeropa (Zimbabwe was won through bloodshed during the liberation struggle) in support of the speaker’s ruling.
The commotion forced the chief whips, Innocent Gonese (MDC-T) and Joram Gumbo (Zanu PF) to confer with the speaker to break the impasse.
Zvidzai’s motion touched a raw nerve and raised emotions among Zanu PF backbenchers as it hinted on the unevenness of the electoral field.
Mudenda said: “The speaker will have to consider the constitutionality of the motion. The officials give advice, but the interpretation of the standing orders rests with the speaker.”
Gonese had earlier stood and argued that Mudenda’s decision was arbitrary.
“We spent two weeks developing and refining the motion with assistance from counsel of Parliament and the clerk of Parliament,” Gonese said.
“It’s not fair to defer a motion where appropriate procedures have been followed.”
Meanwhile, Mudenda earlier notified the house of new appointments to Standing Orders and Rules Committee (SORC), Pan-African Parliament and Sadc Parliamentary Forum.
Anna Simbanegavi, Prisca Mupfumira and Fortune Charumbira were all seconded to the SORC by the speaker, senate president and chiefs respectively.
Zimbabwe will now be represented at the Pan-African Parliament by Chenhamo Chimutengwende, Gumbo and senator P Magumira (all Zanu PF), Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) and Fortune Charumbira (Chiefs).
The new team to represent Zimbabwe at Sadc Parliamentary Forum will comprise Tambudzai Mohadi, Samuel Mukanduri and Monica Mutsvangwa (Zanu PF), Innocent Gonese (MDC-T) and Jasmine Toffa (MDC).