Opposition Movement for Democratic Change legislators who today walked out of the National Assembly while President Emmerson Mnangagwa was delivering his State of the Nation Address as well officially opening the second session of the Ninth Parliament will not get sitting allowances for the next six sittings, Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said.
Despite losing a court challenge of results of last year’s presidential election, the opposition party refuses to recognise Mnangagwa insisting that its leader Nelson Chamisa won the poll.
This is also in spite of various local, regional and international poll observer missions endorsing the election and its outcome.
Today’s walk out is the third by the MDC legislators as last year they did the same during Mnangagwa’s inaugural State of the Nation Address and official opening of the Ninth Session of Parliament.
They also boycotted the presentation of a mid- year fiscal policy review statement and supplementary budget by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in August this year, in protest of the presence of Mnangagwa in Parliament.
Mudenda said his office would use video evidence to ensure that those who disrespected the President do not get their sitting allowances.
“The behaviour which has been demonstrated by the Honourable Members who walked out when His Excellency the President started to speak shall not be allowed to come back during this sitting today and accordingly they will not receive their sitting allowances.
“And also I am aware that we have put together a pay sheet for the past outstanding sitting allowances for the past five months and I want that pay sheet withdrawn from the Ministry of Finance. Effectively it means no payment for today’s sitting and the past five others that were outstanding,” he said.
He said it was deplorable that legislators walked out on the President despite the Speaker having pleaded with chief whips in a bid to prevent the situation.
“I made an appeal that we need to respect the Head of State who in terms of the Constitution represents sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe across the board. Secondly I indicated to them that the legislature is composed of His Excellency the President and Parliament. Parliament is composed of the national Assembly and Senate. This institution of the legislature represents the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“I indicated to the meeting that I do not want to be forced to make some unpalatable decisions should the concerned members not respect the dignity of the House in the presence of the President,” he said adding that drastic measures would be taken in future to punish lawless MPs.
“If this unpalatable behaviour persists, then more drastic action shall be taken as guided by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders,” he said.
Leader of Government business in the National Assembly Ziyambi Ziyambi condemned the walk out.
“They are a confused lot. You do not come into the August House as a product of an election that put in place the President and themselves and you decide that you do not recognise the process,” he said. –New Ziana
Continued next page