MDC MPs Walk Out of Parliament in Protest

Movement for Democratic Change Members of Parliament on Thursday walked out of the chamber en masse to protest an order by Zanu PF Speaker Jacob Mudenda effectively barring debate on rampant corruption in Zimbabwe.
The MPs assembled as normal but started walking out soon after the opening prayer, leaving the front and back opposition benches virtually empty within the first hour.
MDC sources told NOW DAILY exclusively that the move was in protest over an ‘illegal’ order by Mudenda that they could not debate corruption without documentary or video evidence to support their claims.
The controversial ruling, described as unconstitutional by several legal experts, was given Wednesday by Mudenda, who targetted Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, the seconder of the anti-corruption motion moved by Willias Madzimure on 27 February.
Angry MDC MPs sat in stony silence as Mudenda opened the session, refusing to respond when he asked them if they had received a controversial amendment to the original corruption motion.
After a half-hour ministerial statement by Higher Education Minister Olivia Muchena, MDC MPs did not ask any questions, leaving a few Zanu PF legislators to quiz the minister.
Later, Zanu PF MP Irene Zindi moved a motion to amend the original motion by Madzimure. There was no response from MDC MPs. However, some shouted ‘Mutengesi’ at Zindi in muted voices. Apparently Zindi had been part of a plan to boycott Thursday’s session entirely in protest. MPs from Zanu PF and MDC, including Zindi, met in the La Fontaine Restaurant at Meikles Hotel on Thursday morning and agreed that after the opening prayer, no-one would stand up to contribute.
But Zindi, an outspoken member of Robert Mugabe’s party, performed theatrics of her own, accusing Mudenda of “gagging” MPs through the Wednesday ruling. This was after she mentioned the corruption case of George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesman who has admitted sucking $10 000 in monthly board fees from the bankrupt state medical aid firm, PSMAS. MPs persuaded Zindi to mention Charamba by name but she refused, citing the “gag order” by Mudenda.
Mudenda was infuriated by this and asked her to apologise. Zindi was adamant that she was within her rights but later apologised in a theatrical voice, drawing laughter, and continued with her debate. She argued that Parliament must adopt guidelines formulated by MDC former State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo.
Zindi demanded a parliamentary investigation into reports that Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner-General Gershom Pasi, dubbed ‘Ca$hom’ by some, was earning $310 000 a month. Pasi, a relative of Mugabe’s wife Grace and considered one of the ‘untouchables’ instigated the gag order after threatening to sue MPs.

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