The third occasion Mr. Speaker Sir, at the presentation of the 2019 Supplementary Budget on the 1st August, 2019 His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe was in attendance in the House. The MDC-A Members of Parliament on this occasion once again showed their disrespect for the President by boycotting the proceedings and sought to enter the Chamber after the President had left. As a consequence of their disrespectful conduct, the Hon. Speaker had to rule in their absence that they would not be allowed back in the Chamber and they stood suspended for the sitting that day. In addition, the Hon. Speaker ruled that their allowances for the day would be forfeited.
On the fourth occasion, on the State of the Nation Address and Official Opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament on the 1st October, 2019- as is the custom and practice, His Excellency the President officiated at the proceedings. Once again, the MDC-A Members of Parliament did not rise to show respect of the Head of State and Government when he entered the Chamber. However, they stood up when the National Anthem was sung and they immediately walked out soon after the National Anthem when His Excellency started to address the House. Subsequently, the Hon. Speaker resumed his Chair and ruled against the disdainful conduct of the MDC and Members of Parliament to the fact that the said Members of Parliament would not receive their due five months sitting allowances as well as that day’s allowances.
The fifth occasion Mr. Speaker, once again today it is clearly noted that the MDC-A Members of Parliament have continued to show their disrespect of his Excellency the President by boycotting the sitting of the 2020 Budget Presentation, yet they fully attended and participated in the pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls held from 30th October to 4th November, 2019 showing their hypocrisy. The National Budget Presentation is a very important national event which is constitutionally provided for in Section 305 (1) of the Constitution which requires the attendance by all Members of Parliament. Such outrageous disregard of the constitutional mandate and the legislative role by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe who occupies the highest seat and authority in the land cannot be dismissed as just mere politicking by the MDC-A members. These MDC-A members were sworn in to respect the Constitution and the laws of Zimbabwe and, therefore, it is imperative that their untoward Parliamentary conduct be visited with the charge of contempt of Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
I, therefore, move that the conduct of members of the MDC-A be treated as contempt of Parliament.
Accordingly, I move that a Committee on Privileges be constituted to investigate the conduct of MDC-A Members of Parliament and come up with corrective punitive measures.
May the Hon. Speaker rule on the matter – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Following the point of privilege raised by Hon. Togarepi and taking into account his detailed presentation, I rule that there is a prima facie case of breach of privilege leading to contempt of Parliament.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Pursuant to the ruling by the Hon. Speaker that a prima facie case of breach of privilege exists in the case involving Hon. Members of the MDC-A party who have shown disrespect to His Excellency, the President whenever he attends constitutional national duties, I move that the Committee on Standing Rules appoints a Privileges Committee to look into the matter and report to this House.
HON. NYATHI: I second.
Motion put and agreed.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I take therefore this opportunity to summon the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders to meet tomorrow in Committee Room No. 4 and deliberate on the Constitution of the said Privileges Committee and work out the terms of reference accordingly.