MDC MP Who Exposed Grace Mugabe’s Cousin Threatened

• Zanu PF Desperate to Block Corruption Debate in Parliament.

MDC Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya faces jail after accusing Grace Mugabe’s cousin and Zimra Commissioner-General Gershom Pasi, dubbed “Cashom”, of corruptly awarding himself a salary of $310 000 a month.
Chikwinya is likely to face contempt charges after alleging that Speaker of Parliament and Zanu PF member Jacob Mudenda had “watered down” an anti-corruption motion presented by a fellow opposition party member.
Chikwinya last week cited amendments to the original motion, brought in by Zanu PF Mutasa South MP, Irene Zindi last week and said the changes showed that the motion had been watered down.
Chikwinya said: “The amended portion speaks exactly to what the original mover of the motion was calling for. The fact that after some debate, another Member of Parliament who was present during that debate, in this case Hon. Zindi, but who was absent during the drafting of the original motion saw it fit to also go and come up with this amendment which speaks exactly to what was being sought after the original motion, speaks volumes of what we were crying for, that the original motion was watered down.”
Mudenda was furious over this on Tuesday.
“As the House may recall, on the 27th February 2014, the Chair (Mudenda) clarified that the motion was not watered down and all the amendments had been agreed with the mover of the motion who then signed the notice of motion,” Mudenda said. “In addition, the Chair wishes to place it on record that he has gone through the original motion as submitted by the mover and observed that the amendment proposed by Hon. Zindi is totally different from the one which Hon. Madzimure, as the mover of the motion, had envisaged. Therefore, for Hon. Chikwinya to impute that the motion was watered down contrary to my clarifications on the 27th February 2014 is, in itself a serious reflection on the character of the Chair. It also shows willful disregard of the authority of the Chair. Therefore, pursuant torelevant provisions of the law, appropriate measures to deal with the Member will be announced in due course.

Below is a transcript of Mudenda’s Tuesday ruling.

MR. SPEAKER’S RULING
REMINDER OF RULING ON UNSUBSTANTIATED UTTERANCES
MR. SPEAKER:
I make a ruling, on the persistence of some
members in disregarding the authority of the Chair. The Chair has noted
with grave concern the persistence by some hon. Members of Parliament
to disregard and defy lawful orders made by the Chair in respect of
adherence to preemptory constitutional provisions. By way of a
reminder, and this being the last warning to the members concerned and
others so inclined to do so, the Chair ruled that; The Privileges and
Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act, [Chapter 2:08] which
guarantees the privileges of Members of Parliament, including the
freedom of speech, is subject to the provisions of the Constitution, as the
supreme law of the land. More specifically, Section 61 (5) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, which provides that the freedom of
expression and freedom of media exclude:
(a) incitement to violence
(b) advocacy of hatred or hate speech
(c) malicious injury to a person’s reputation or dignity
(d) malicious or unwarranted breach of a person’s right to privacy.
This is what the Constitution says and not what the Chair says.
Therefore, as aptly specified in Section 119 (1) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe, and I quote ‘Parliament must protect this Constitution and
promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe’.
Section 148 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which is the
bedrock of freedom of speech in Parliament states that; ‘the President of
Senate, the Speaker and Members of Parliament have freedom of speech
in Parliament and in all Parliamentary Committees and while they must
obey the rules and orders of the House concerned, they are not liable to
civil or criminal proceedings, arrest or imprisonment or damages for
anything said, produced before or submitted to Parliament or any of its
Committees’.
The Constitution itself recognises that the privilege of freedom of
speech is not limitless. It is subject to the rules and orders of the House,
meaning that this House may censure any conduct, act or omission
which offends the spirit and letter of the law. The Chair’s ruling is not
meant to gag the freedom of speech of Members of Parliament, but to
regulate it and enhance constitutionalism and the rule of law.
Therefore, as a collorary to this, no Member of Parliament may
make unsubstantiated allegations against any Member of Parliament or
any member of the public, any Member of Parliament who fails to
observe this rule may be liable for censure in this House or be charged
with contempt. The ruling of the Chair clearly stated that no member
shall be allowed to make unsubstantiated allegation against other
members or officers of Parliament or members of the public except by
way of a substantive and clearly formulated motion’.
The ruling further stated that, no member shall be allowed to use
this House of Parliament to attack the integrity of the Administration of
Parliament except by using appropriate channels as provided for in the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, particularly Sections 135, 151 and 154 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe. May I add, this is not to protect anybody in
the Administration of Parliament. If there are any issues, please go to
those three sections of the Constitution and make your case. The
Standing Orders Committee will deal with the matter accordingly.
The ruling of the Chair does not amount to limiting the freedom of
speech of Members of Parliament or as it is fashionably called ‘gagging’
them. Any Member of Parliament wishing to engage in objective and
constructive debate on an improper conduct of any Member of
Parliament should do so by way of clearly substantiated separate motion,
accompanied with verifiable evidence in support of such a motion,
before the Chair can clear it. The Chair’s ruling provided for a procedure
to be followed in conducting debate in this House, should one raise
factual allegations on any Member of Parliament or member of the
public. This is an honourable august House where spurious allegations
calculated to unjustly injure the dignity of others shall not be admitted
under the guise of freedom of expression.
Therefore, pursuant to provisions of Standing Order 79 (1) of the
National Assembly: “Any member who willfully disobeys any lawful
order of the House and any member who willfully and vexaciously
interrupts the orderly conduct of business in the House, shall be guilty of
contempt”. The Chair wishes, therefore, to emphatically state that all
decisions and orders made by the Chair are binding on all members of
the National Assembly and a full force of the law until such a time when
they are amended, annulled or rescinded, either by the Chair or
competent authority in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
In line with well documented Parliamentary procedures meant to
ensure the orderly flow of business, it is the duty of the Speaker to
interpret rules impartially, to maintain order and to defend the rights and
privileges of members including the right of freedom of speech; subject
to the law, as well as the right of everyone person’s protection under the
Constitution as stated in Section 61, (5) of the Supreme Law of the land.
Therefore, all Members of Parliament must comply with the ruling
which the Chair made in this House on the 5
th
March, 2014 based on the
provisions of the relevant Constitution of Zimbabwe, failure of which
serious consequences may follow.
May I add that, already there is a matter that is being raised
constitutionally because some of us did not adhere to the ruling, and in
such a situation, the Chair has no power to stop that constitutional
process against the members concerned.
On a related note, the Chair wishes to highlight that on Thursday,
6
th
March 2014, Hon. Chikwinya stated that, “the amended portion
speaks exactly to what the original mover of the motion was calling for.
The fact that after some debate, another Member of Parliament who was
present during that debate, in this case Hon. Zindi, but who was absent
during the drafting of the original motion saw it fit to also go and come
up with this amendment which speaks exactly to what was being sought
after the original motion, speaks volumes of what we were crying for,
that the original motion was watered down”.
As the House may recall, on the 27
th
February 2014, the Chair
clarified that the motion was not watered down and all the amendments
had been agreed with the mover of the motion who then signed the
notice of motion. In addition, the Chair wishes to place it on record that
he has gone through the original motion as submitted by the mover and
observed that the amendment proposed by Hon. Zindi is totally different
from the one which Hon. Madzimure, as the mover of the motion, had
envisaged.
Therefore, for Hon. Chikwinya to impute that the motion was
watered down contrary to my clarifications on the 27
th
February 2014 is,
in itself a serious reflection on the character of the Chair. It also shows
willful disregard of the authority of the Chair. Therefore, pursuant to
relevant provisions of the law, appropriate measures to deal with the
Member will be announced in due course.

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