By Robert Tapfumaneyi
OUTSPOKEN independent Norton Member of Parliament for Norton Temba Mliswa has approached the High Court seeking an order to set aside his suspension from attending Parliament sittings.
The urgent application seeks to set aside the actions of the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda who suspended Mliswa from attending six House of Assembly sittings.
Mudenda and Parliament of Zimbabwe are cited as first and second respondents. Mliswa is represented by senior MDC Alliance politician and Harare councillor, Jacob Mafume.
“It is my contention that the Speaker’s actions were illegal and outside the law, the Speaker acted outside the standing orders,” Mliswa said in his court application.
“The Speaker expelled me from Parliament for six sittings and yet he does not have that power. The Speaker’s power of expulsion only relates to one sitting conduct that is grossly disorderly as is provided for by Standing Order 108 and 109.
“The power to suspend a Member of Parliament itself rests upon the Speaker naming a member and a vote being taken. This is provided for in terms of Standing Order 109 in the wrongly worded Standing Order 111. The speaker’s actions were therefore clearly wrongful and illegal,” argues Mliswa.
He dismissed claims he behaved like a hooligan or insulted Zanu PF legislators.
“In fact, I was begging for protection against the rapacious noisy attacks I was receiving from Zanu PF members. The Speaker acted emotional by expelling me when I had not committed anything untoward.”
Last week Mudenda imposed a ban on Mliswa after he accused him of disrupting the business of the House by repeatedly interjecting either when other MPs were making contributions or Cabinet ministers were responding to questions from legislators.
Mliswa becomes the first MP to be banned under the newly approved measures in the Standing Orders, which were adopted by Parliament recently, allowing a presiding officer to preclude an MP from attending sittings for a prescribed period.