Chamisa’s MPs Boycott ED’s SONA

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By Anna Chibamu

THE few remaining opposition MDC Alliance MPs Thursday boycotted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Parliament Building in central Harare.

MDC Alliance MPs have since 2018 been boycotting Mnangagwa SONA addresses and other parliamentary events he attends.

The snub was in response to claims by their party leader, Nelson Chamisa that Mnangagwa rigged the results of the 2018 presidential election. Chamisa lost narrowly to Mnangagwa in that election.

However, over 60 MDC Alliance MPs have been recalled from Parliament after a rival splinter group, the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora, said they were no longer party members after the legislators showed their allegiance to Chamisa.

Other remaining lawmakers from the opposition have crossed the floor to join Mwonzora in fear of being recalled.

The handful of MPs that joined Mwonzora’s camp including the MDC-T leader attended Thursday’s SONA, which Mnangagwa addressed live virtually from State House.

However, the few MDC Alliance MPs who were not present in the House of Assembly included the vocal Zengeza West Job Sikhala, Mutare Central Innocent Gonese, Harare North Rusty Markham, Harare West Joanna Mamombe, and Magwegwe Anele Ndebele.

In 2019, House of Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda ruled MDC Alliance MPs who had that year boycotted Mnangagwa’s SONA would not receive their sitting allowances for five months.

However, the matter was thrown away after the opposition MPs filed an appeal at the High Court.

Efforts to get a comment from MDC Alliance MPs on why they had boycotted SONA were fruitless.