Parliament on Tuesday set up a Privileges Committee to investigate the boycotts of President Emmerson Mnangagwa by members of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance whenever he comes to attend Parliament.
Below is the full brief:
APPOINTMENT OF A PRIVILEGES COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE CONDUCT OF MDC-A MEMBERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: On 14th November, 2019, Hon. Togarepi raised a matter of privilege regarding the conduct of Hon. Members of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance Party (MDC-A), whereby since 2017, each time His Excellency the President, Hon. E. D Mnangagwa attends Parliament on his official capacity as Head of State and Government, they do not either rise as a matter of respect or they walk out of the House.
Hon. Togarepi found the behaviour by the Hon. Members concerned to be grossly disrespectful of the office and person of the Head of State and Government. In terms of Parliamentary customs and practices which the institution of Parliament in any jurisdiction is expected to observe, he also found such conduct to undermine the dignity and integrity of the august House.
Subsequently, the Chair ruled that there existed a prima facie case of contempt of Parliament and accordingly the House resolved that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) appoints a Privileges Committee to investigate the conduct of the Members of the MDC-A Party and come up with corrective punitive measures.
On Thursday, 28th November, 2019, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders nominated the following members to serve on the Privileges Committee:
- Hon. J. Samukange (Chairperson)
- Hon. J. Chirongoma
- Hon. O. Hungwe
- Hon. C. Kashiri
- Hon. S. Mathe
- Hon. L. Mayihlome
- Hon. P. Misihairabwi-Mushonga
- Hon. K. Paradza
- Hon. A. Samson
The terms of reference of the Privileges Committee are as follows:
- To investigate the conduct of Hon. Members of Parliament of the MDC-A party in consecutive instances whereby they:
- did not rise for his Excellency, the President;
- walked out of Parliament on His Excellency the President; and
- did not bother to attend Parliament whenever His Excellency the President attended Parliament.
- To establish whether such conduct as outlined in No 1 (a), (b) and (c) above constitutes contempt of Parliament;
- Any other incident that may arise from the investigation; and finally
- To report its findings and recommendations to the National Assembly by 28th February, 2020.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker, if I am allowed, may I take this opportunity to decline the nomination on the basis that I am conflicted? I could raise the issue of conflict of interest with yourself unless if you do ask me to speak openly.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, point taken, you will be replaced accordingly.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My point of clarity arises from my point of privilege which I raised last week, to the extent that there were some Members of Parliament at Committee level who were disrupting Committee business. As I had attached your response then to mean that when you said you are looking into the matter holistically because it is a symptom of a bigger problem as you have identified, I had thought that as you read your terms of reference for the Committee there was going to be a term of reference which would direct the set Privileges Committee to be able to address business as it is being disrupted at Committee level. I did not pick that unless if you may direct me to that term of reference.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Perhaps I was too fast. It says any other incident that may arise from the investigation.