By Anna Chibamu
MDC Alliance MPs led by their vice-president Tendai Biti Thursday boycotted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Parliament.
The MPs have, since 2018, been boycotting Mnangagwa’s addresses to Parliament claiming they did not recognise his legitimacy as Zimbabwe’s president.
On Thursday, Mnangagwa made a virtual live address from State House to MPs who were seated in Parliament.
However, the remaining MDC Alliance MPs who included Biti of Harare East, Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese, Harare North MP Rusty Markham, Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele, and Nkulumane MP Kucaca Phulu were not present.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo confirmed party MPs boycotted Mnangagwa’s address.
“It’s not a boycott but an action we have taken because we have to be heard. No one voted for Mnangagwa, the courts imposed him for a reason. The reason is to control the resources of this country. But for him, he does not have a solution to the issues of social decay, issues of civil servants’ welfare,” he said.
Over 30 MDC Alliance MPs have been recalled from Parliament by the MDC-T interim president, Thokozani Khupe on charges they were no longer party members after they chose to remain loyal to MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.
However, Khupe, who recently bounced back as MP, and a majority of MPs from MDC-T were present in Parliament during Mnangagwa’s address.
Speaking after Mnangagwa’s address, the MDC-T chairperson and Midlands senator Morgen Komichi said there was a need for all political parties to urgently sit down and iron out their differences.
“The economy of this country is under siege and as leaders, we need to sit down. We need people to sit down and agree to what are the causes of these problems as the people are suffering,” Komichi told NewZimbabwe.com.
Last year, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda ruled that MDC Alliance legislators would not receive their sitting allowances for five months after they walked out of the National Assembly chamber when Mnangagwa was about to present SONA.
“I want that pay sheet withdrawn from the Ministry of Finance. Effectively it means no payment for today’s sitting and the five others that were outstanding. If this unpalatable behaviour persists then more drastic action shall be taken as guided by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”