MDC MPs boycott 2020 budget presentation, Mliswa demands action

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By Leopold Munhende

INDEPENDENT MP Temba Mliswa on Thursday demanded Parliament takes disciplinary action after all MDC legislators boycotted Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s 2020 Budget presentation in their continued dismissal of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership.

Speaking before the presentation, Mliswa described the MPs as “hypocrites” and questioned how the MDC could take part in formulation of Bills that are signed into law by a President whose legitimacy they do not recognise.

“When one comes here, national interests come first. There was a decision made by the courts following last year’s elections and that has to be respected,” said Mliswa.

He was referring to the judgement by the Constitutional Court last year to reject MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s claims that the presidential election won controversially by Mnangagwa had been rigged.

Mliswa demanded punishment.

“The decision that they made is a decision that is inconsistent. I thought MPs were more mature, more senior and they would be able to do what is expected.

“Mr. Speaker, time has come that this institution comes up with rules that will empower you to be able to deal with any MP who behaves in a manner that is not befitting of this institution,” the former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson said.

“The hypocrisy that they exhibit, they contribute to every Bill in this Parliament and at the end, the President signs it so when they contribute and the President signs how then can they not be part of this.

“This is a critical event in terms of the country moving forward. The Minister of Finance will be presenting a budget which equally they contributed to. We were in Victoria Falls together.”

Mliswa said the MDC will not be able to sustain its strategy for the next four years, challenging them to seek a better plan.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda threatened punishment in response.

“I do not want to be prophetic about that. But it (punishment) is coming, enough is enough!” Mudenda said.

There was expectation the opposition MPs will attempt to humiliate Mnangagwa who was in attendance, by walking out but surprisingly, none pitched up.

Last year, Mudenda had to call police officers to drag the opposition MPs out of the legislative chamber after they refused to acknowledge Mnangagwa’s presence by remaining seated when he walked in for the 2019 budget.

They argue Mnangagwa stole the 2018 election from their party leader Nelson Chamisa.

MDC presidential spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda told all MDC MPs were at a funeral in Marondera.

“They are attending the funeral of a high ranking family within the MDC in Marondera. That is what I understand,” said Sibanda.

On Monday, party spokesperson Daniel Molokele maintained his party’s position on Mnangagwa remained the same despite reports they had dropped the illegitimacy mantra.