CHAOS continued yesterday in Parliament after the Portfolio Committee on Information and Media chaired by Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC Alliance) was disrupted by Zanu PF legislators, who said it will not sit until the opposition recognised President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The impasse between Zanu PF and the MDC is now threatening to cripple the work of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, whose main task is oversight over government ministries and departments.
Gabuza Joel Gabbuza, whose committee was yesterday gathering oral evidence from the Zimbabwe Energy regulatory Authority and independent power producers on the capacity to generate electricity, failed to preside over the Energy committee. It was then chaired by a Zanu PF MP after Gabbuza was told the meeting would not continue with him presiding.
In the House, the impasse resulted in Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi refusing to entertain any contributions from MDC legislators until they recognised the President.
This has severely affected scrutiny of Bills, and will affect debate on budget Bills if the MDC are not allowed to contribute.
The Information and Media Committee had invited the former Zimbabwe Media Commission commissioners to give oral evidence on the ZMC Bill currently before Parliament.
The witnesses turned up, but Zanu PF MPs Tendai Nyabani (Rushinga), Kindness Paradza (Makonde), Webster Shamhu (Chegutu West) and Alum Mpofu (Mberengwa South) said the committee would not sit until the MDC legislators recognised Mnangagwa.
Some of the witnesses, like Matthew Takaona, had come all the way from Masvingo, but were turned back because of the impasse.
“We were meant to receive oral evidence from former commissioners of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, but the Zanu PF MPs then declared that there was no meeting going to take place until the MDC recognises the President,” Sibanda said.
“I have decided that the committee should no longer meet until Parliament leadership deals with the problem, because I don’t subscribe to resolving matters physically and so as chairperson, I decided to call off the meeting.”
Gabbuza added that Zanu PF legislator Elias Musakwa (Bikita West) had to chair the Energy committee after the ruling party MPs told him that they were under pressure from their party to oust the MDC chairpersons.
Due to the political impasse between Zanu PF and MDC legislators in Parliament, Norton MP Temba Mliswa on Tuesday threatened to mobilise Zimbabweans to beat up MPs for politicking and wasting taxpayers’ money when the masses were suffering.
Later during the National Assembly sitting, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) raised a matter of privilege with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda over the continued disruptions of MDC-led committees
“In the past two weeks, committee business has been disrupted by Zanu PF MPs and today, the Media committee only sat for five minutes before it was disrupted. All committees led by the MDC are being disturbed from doing business and, therefore, it is my humble submission that a Privileges Committee be set up to investigate these MPs disrupting committees,” Chikwinya said.
Mudenda responded: “I hear you, but the events are symptomatic of a bigger problem which the Standing Rules and Orders Committee is seized with and will look into it in detail.”