Misihairabwi-Mushonga says the Herald is sexist


Full contribution:

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I stand on a matter of privilege as per Standing Order Number 69 and I raise this particular point of order with a very heavy heart Mr. Speaker.  I say heavy heart because it is an issue that involves the media with whom I am intimately involved in because of my profession and I have in my years of activism defended their right to exist.  Mr. Speaker, the issue that I am asking you to rule on relates to a debate that I had in this House on Wednesday, 1st February, 2016.  You will remember Mr. Speaker that in that debate, I presented to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development a bouquet of flowers to which I asked that they be given to a lady Mrs. Mhini.  I went into detail about what this woman had done in relation to the issue of sanitary wear.  You remember Mr. Speaker that in remonstrating me you said that you were not going to allow this to happen again; you referred this particular issue as an issue of human dignity.  You referred that it had been raised in the Westminster House and I understood you to mean that you were going to allow this to happen only because you really felt that it was not a frivolous matter.

Mr. Speaker, a journalist, fortunately I do have his name here because he has his bi-line, by the name Zvamaida Murwira of The Herald proceeded to write an article.  Let me for avoidance of any doubt; I am not asking that this particular journalist should have written about my debate.  He is under no obligation to do so but I think what he is under obligation to do is to write the facts as they happened.

In that article, he writes about everything else that happened in the House and all the other debates, and decides that in his last paragraph, he will put this.  “Earlier on, proportionate representative Member of Parliament Mrs. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga MDC gave Minister Chinamasa flowers for his sterling work to try and steer the economy”.

Mr. Speaker, this is not only malicious but it is sexist in the highest order. I will tell you why I think it is sexist. If you go into the entire article, this particular journalist makes a point of quoting every other person that he wants to write in his article and quotes them verbatim. Ironically, all these people that he quotes verbatim are males. He quotes Hon. Chakona, Hon. Maridadi and Hon. Chinotimba. When he comes to the reference about me, he deliberately puts a misrepresentation on what happened.

This cannot be a mistake. It is somebody who deliberately wants to undermine, not only the debate that is here and this is why I am standing up. If this had been any other political debate, in spite of the fact that I would have known that I am in the legal right, I would not have raised it in this manner. This is because I was raising something that some of us really think is fundamental and it is an issue of human dignity to quote yourself. I seriously think that he needs to be taken in for Contempt of Parliament. It is not new for that to happen Mr. Speaker.

In the year November, 2000, the then Speaker of the House, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa, now the Vice President, ruled that the Financial Gazette publication was in Contempt of Parliament. I am asking not only for the publication to be in contempt of Parliament. I am asking for the individual particular journalist to be in Contempt of Parliament. Section 21 of our Privileges and Immunities Act is very clear, that the offences that are defined in the Schedule of the Privileges and Immunities Act are an offence.

I will refer you to the Schedule Mr. Speaker which you put in our Standing Rules and Orders. That Schedule has No. 10 as an offence; “willfully publishing a false or perverted report of any debate or proceedings in Parliament or willfully misrepresenting any speech made by a member.” It is more serious because I also note that last year, in one of your Speaker’s dialogues, you had a dialogue forum with the media practitioners. You took them through the Constitution, the Standing Rules and Orders and you also took them through the Act.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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