Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front secretary for youth Pupurai Togarepi yesterday called on Parliament to investigate the conduct of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change legislators after they walked out of Parliament before the presentation of the 2020 budget.
MDC legislators have walked out every time President Emmerson Mnangagwa has come to Parliament and Togarepi said yesterday’s boycott was the fifth walk-out on the President.
The MDC does not recognize Mnangagwa as President and claims that its leader Nelson Chamisa won last year’s presidential election but was rigged out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
It lost the case at the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda said the Committee of Standing Rules will deliberate on the matter today.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point privilege on the conduct of the MDC Members of Parliament on their disrespect for His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Since His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe assumed office in November 2017, the President attended Parliament in his official capacity as Head of State and Government on four occasions representing the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe. In all the four occasions the MDC-A Members of Parliament exhibited gross disrespect of the President as Head of State and Government. I have to draw the attention of the House that MDC-A Members of Parliament have persistently refused to rise as a mark of respect for His Excellency the President, as is the norm and custom on such occasions. The Members have even gone further to stage a walk out in disdain of the presence of the Head of State and Government in this august Chamber. The following are the incidents of their disrespectful conduct:
On the first occasion, on the Official Opening of the Ninth Parliament and the Twenty-Eighteenth State of the Nation Address delivered on the 18th September, 2018 immediately after elections, the President came in the Chamber and the MDC-A Members of Parliament walked out on the President en masse and re-convened outside the House. They then started singing, thereby disrupting the orderly process and decorum of the House. Their singing carried on until His Excellency, the President finished delivering his speech. They never came back into the Chamber.
The second occasion on 20th November, 2018, His Excellency, the President attended the 2019 Budget Presentation at Parliament. As is the custom and practice, when the President enters the Chamber, the Sergeant-at-Arms announces the arrival of the President- everyone must arise in their seats as a sign of respect until the President takes his seat. On this particular day, the members of MDC-A refused to stand up in acknowledgement of the President as he entered the Chamber. Consequently, the Hon. Speaker ordered the MDC-A Members of Parliament to leave the Chamber for failure to show respect for the Head of State and Government, and they refused to obey that lawful order. The Sergeant-at-Arms, with the help of the police stationed at Parliament finally ejected them from the Chamber.
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