Chamisa says Zimbabwe should stop Mugabe from embarrassing himself


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Kuwadzana East legislator Nelson Chamisa took Parliament by surprise on Wednesday when he sneaked in a question about what the nation should do to make President Robert Mugabe stay in the country to avoid embarrassment similar to the one he faced when he was confronted by a female journalist in Nigeria.

Chamisa sneaked in the question after Highfield East Member of Parliament Erick Murai asked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa whether Zimbabwe was likely to see the two-term presidential limit in Zimbabwe amended in view of what Mugabe had said at the African Union summit in Johannesburg.

Mugabe said the two-term limit was too short- it was like two weeks-  and most countries in Europe had no such limit. But Mugabe added that once countries had adopted the two-term limit, leaders should not seek a third term.

When Mnangagwa replied that he had not received any instruction to amend the constitution, Chamisa asked: “My question is in line with what happened to His Excellency when he was outside the country, attending an AU organisation. What happened in Nigeria when he was heckled to is not pleasing. I was very much annoyed. My question is what are we doing as a nation to make the President stay in the country to avoid embarrassment when he goes outside the country?”

The Speaker ruled him out saying that the question was not a supplementary question. But Chamisa got another chance to ask the same question later when Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Wadyajena asked Mnangagwa whether Zimbabwe had received any apology from the Nigerian government over the embarrassing incident.

Mnangagwa said the Nigerian government had not apologised because there had been no request for an apology. He said, however, that the woman journalist had written a letter of apology to the Nigerian government which had in turn forwarded the letter to the government of Zimbabwe.

Chamisa then said: “My question has been addressed. The leader of the House is also showing his displeasure at the embarrassing situation. Therefore, my supplementary is that the Government received a letter from the journalist who had embarrassed our State President but as a Government, what are we going to do in order to protect our President when he faces embarrassment wherever he goes? May he please conduct his business from within the country?”

Mnangagwa responded: “Verily, verily I feel embarrassed because whenever the electorate elects people into this House, they would be thinking that they are mature and some people do not look like fools until they open their mouths.”

When Chamisa objected to being called immature, Mnangagwa said what he merely wanted to emphasise was that  “…… if a visitor comes to your home and you leave your dogs barking at the visitor, it shows that you have no control over your dogs. That visitor would not feel at home but he/she would not be embarrassed by the barking. The owner of the dogs would be embarrassed by his/her manner of not controlling the temper of the dogs”.

 

Q &A:

 

MR. MURAI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House and Vice President, Hon Mnangagwa. From the recently held AU Summit in South Africa, we have heard our own President blasting the two-term limit in our Constitution. Are we likely to see the amendment of such a provision?

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I thank the hon. member for his question –[AN HON MEMBER: Anga achiudzirwa]- I had not heard you as you were asking because there was a lot of noise especially from this side. However, if what I have been told by the Hon Minister is correct, that you said the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde R. G. Mugabe, Commander-in-Chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Chancellor of all State Universities made a statement as Chairman of the AU, I am not so sure whether he made it in that capacity or his personal capacity as an opinion on an issue, if I have heard the question correctly.

I have no doubt that the President was sincere in whatever statement he might have made but I have never received any instructions from His Excellency to amend our Constitution in Zimbabwe. Thank you very much.

*MR. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is in line with what happened to His Excellency when he was outside the country, attending an AU organisation. What happened in Nigeria when he was heckled to is not pleasing. I was very much annoyed. My question is what are we doing as a nation to make the President stay in the country to avoid embarrassment when he goes outside the country?

MR. SPEAKER: Order! The supplementary question does not arise. It does not relate to the constitutional amendment asked by the hon. member…………………………………………

*MR. WADYAJENA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Leader of the House since the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not around. Some few weeks ago, when His Excellency the President was in Nigeria, he was shamed by the people of Boko Haram.

These uncouth journalists were led by an uncouth woman, a woman of low morals who confronted His Excellency… – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

*MR. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Wadyajena, please ask your question.

*MR. WADYAJENA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is, has the Nigerian Government apologised to His Excellency for the embarrassment made to His Excellency who is the AU Chair?

*THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I have understood the question that has been asked by the hon. member for Gokwe, Hon Wadyajena. The United Nations regulations which were enacted under the Geneva Conventions protect the leaders of other countries when they visit the respective countries. The protection of that leader falls under the jurisdiction of the host country. As a result, if we look at the embarrassment which we are talking about, who is responsible for protecting and safekeeping of visitors? If the host has failed to take care of their visitors and if something bad befalls that visitor, we would then question that host why they would have failed to protect that person.

The other question which was asked by the hon. member is, has the Nigerian Government apologised to His Excellency for such a confrontation which occurred in Nigeria? I have not heard anything about a request for apology, but what I know is that the lady journalist wrote a letter apologizing and the letter was addressed to the Nigerian Government. The Nigerian Government then redirected the apology letter to the Government of Zimbabwe apologizing for embarrassing the State.

*MR. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question has been addressed. The leader of the House is also showing his displeasure at the embarrassing situation. Therefore, my supplementary is that the Government received a letter from the journalist who had embarrassed our State President but as a Government, what are we going to do in order to protect our President when he faces embarrassment wherever he goes? May he please conduct his business from within the country?

*MR. MNANGAGWA: Mr. Speaker Sir. Verily, verily I feel embarrassed because whenever the electorate elects people into this House, they would be thinking that they are mature and some people do not look like fools until they open their mouths.

*MR. CHAMISA: On a point of order! Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Our Standing Rules and Orders protect members and they do not give the idea that some people are mature or young. We are all equal and therefore, when we go into the issues of age we will touch some jugular veins here. This year is a year of learning.

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFIARS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, you have a lot of patience because what I have just said is when someone is an elected Member of Parliament, according to the laws of our country, you are considered to be mature. Even Hon. Chamisa supported my sentiments that there are others who are mature, hence it follows that there are others who are still young.

When I was talking, I was referring to the young ones not those who are mature, so that when others who are still young also come here, they will disturb the whole process. I emphasised this point that if a visitor comes to your home and you leave your dogs barking at the visitor, it shows that you have no control over your dogs. That visitor would not feel at home but he/she would not be embarrassed by the barking. The owner of the dogs would be embarrassed by his/her manner of not controlling the temper of the dogs. That is where I talked of age difference.

(778 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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