Thursday, 27 October 2016

Anarchy in parliament: Scuffle in august House as MDC-T MPs resist colleague's ejection

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.

Anarchy in parliament: Scuffle in august House as MDC-T MPs resist colleague's ejection
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 fo_ndled her br_easts.

“I’m not a whore but some police officer fondled my br_easts,” 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.
Source: Chronicle
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