Zimbabwe parliament suspends sitting for two-months over coronavirus

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By Anna Chibamu

SPEAKER of the national assembly Jacob Mudenda has suspended parliament business for nearly two months in line with a government ban on public gatherings of more than 100 people in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Mudenda announced in parliament Wednesday the House will adjourn immediately until the 6th of May 2020.

The suspension includes house sittings, committee meetings and public hearings.

“I wish to inform the House that following the announcement made by His Excellency the Head of State and government yesterday (Tuesday) on measures to be taken to curb the spread of coronavirus, the House will adjourn today (Wednesday) to the 5th of May 2020.

“However, Honourable Members should note that the resumption date is subject to change depending on the prevailing conditions at that particular time.

“Honourable members will be advised of such change should the need arise.

“All international travel, committee meetings and hearings are cancelled with immediate effect.

“However, approved workshops and field visits may go ahead if the numbers are less than the recommended 100. All other meetings will be considered on page by page verses.

“Where there is doubt, committee chairpersons will liaise with Clerk of Parliament at all the time,” said Mudenda.

Public Accounts committee chair and Harare East MP Tendai Biti requested the Speaker to allow committees to sit as most of the such meetings attracted less than 50 people.

“Some committees are seriously behind and can we have those that can accommodate less than 100 people to go on?” Biti said to the Speaker.

President Emerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday banned gatherings of more than 100 people at a time.

There are 270 MPs in the House of Assembly.