The Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the Movement for Democratic Change may challenge the passage of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill which passes on the central bank’s debt of $1.3 billion to the government because it argues that some of the legislators from the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front who voted for the bill were beneficiaries.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese asked members to vote to try to stall the bill but 115 legislators voted for and 37 against.
Kuwadzana East Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa said that the legislators had violated Parliamentary rules and the national Constitution by allowing the bill to sail through.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, (Debt Assumption) Bill – as I have already indicated Mr. Speaker Sir, this Bill is so important to our national being, to matters of accountability within Parliament. We have already indicated Mr. Speaker Sir that there are hon. members who have voted in error and there is a possibility on account of that error of us locating a constitutional infraction, a constitutional violation because we feel that there are hon. members who benefitted in tractors, who benefited in combine harvesters but they have come here to vote for the government to assume their own debt,” Chamisa told Parliament yesterday.
“It is a travesty – like I said Mr. Speaker Sir, it is a violation of our Parliamentary rules. Of course with all due respect to your ruling, it is also a violation of our Constitution of Zimbabwe which has to be noted and stated. It has to be noted that in as much as we voted, we voted but our vote is a ‘No’, showing our disenchantment and disagreement with the violation that we have so alleged.”
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the whole debate was a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money.
“We cannot be paid for doing what we have been doing here for the past one and half hours – Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Chamisa has of course the right to appeal to any other quarters but it is not the basis or warrant of a point of Order in this House, he can raise those issues elsewhere but not in this House –– In any event Mr. Speaker Sir, this is about taking over liabilities of the Reserve Bank – Whoever is indebted to the Reserve Bank remains on the balance sheet of the Reserve Bank. It is not what we are talking about here.”
The Bill now has to go to the Senate.