THREE MDC Alliance MPs, whose sitting allowances were withdrawn by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda as punishment for refusing to respect President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the official opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament, have approached the High Court challenging the move.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Prosper Chapfiwa Mutseyami (Chikanga-Dangamvura MP), Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East) and Happymore Chidziva (Highfield West) filed an urgent chamber application seeking a declaratour against Mudenda’s actions arguing that they should be allowed to exercise their political rights as parliamentarians.
The trio also challenged the setting up of a Privileges Committee which they claimed was biased since it was only made up of Zanu PF members. In the application, the three cited Mudenda, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda and the Parliament of Zimbabwe as co-respondents.
“In this regard applicants (Mutseyami, Hwende and Chidziva) seek a declaratour that they are entitled to equality of treatment by the first respondent (Mudenda) and the motions moved by members of the opposition must be treated with equal respect and must similarly be followed through with,” the trio said.
“With respect to the composition of the Privileges Committee so set up, we seek a declaratour to the effect that we are entitled to appear before a committee that reflects the political and gender composition of Parliament and not appear before a partisan committee wholly comprising Zanu PF members who in essence are the aggrieved party. This does not accord us a fair hearing.”
The legislators also said part of the alleged misconduct against them related to non-attendance to parliamentary sessions, adding that they were also seeking a declaratour to the effect that it is not mandatory for MPs to attend all parliamentary sessions though it is encouraged of them to do so.
“In the circumstances, failing to attend Parliament on a date, coincidentally when a President decides to come to Parliament cannot be an offence in respect of which a Privileges Committee can be set up in our collective view. It is clear abuse of parliamentary process,” they said.
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