By Anna Chibamu
SHARP-TONGUED legislator, Temba Mliswa has urged parliament to speedily resolve the boycott stance taken by MDC Alliance MPs, telling Speaker Jacob Mudenda Zanu PF MPs were too weak to pose serious policy related questions to ministers.
Speaking in parliament Tuesday, the independent lawmaker for Norton said in the absence of MDC MPs, he was now the only remaining legislator who could raise serious matters in the house.
MDC Alliance MPs recently took a stand to indefinitely ‘disengage’ from all parliamentary business in protest over the expulsion of four senior party officials who were serving legislators.
The decision to withdraw the MPs was a culmination of a protracted leadership row between MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and ex-party vice president Thokozani Khupe.
Khupe recently won a court battle to lead the factious opposition to an extra-ordinary congress within three months to replace late founding party president Morgan Tsvangirai who succumbed to colon cancer February 2018.
In a damning dismissal of former Zanu PF colleagues, Mliswa pleaded with Mudenda to resolve the MDC absenteeism issue to restore vibrant debate in the house.
“Honourable Speaker, there are no opposition members in this House. We are here on taxpayers’ money.
“There is no MDC Chief whip. The opposition members have resources and l do not know why they are not here.
“Honourable, I will not be able to handle the situation alone. Asking serious questions on Wednesday during question and answer session will be difficult for me as Zanu PF MPs are weak.
“I am the only opposition member in here right now. The ruling party must not celebrate the absence of MDC members.”
Mliswa’s remarks were met with jeers from Zanu PF MPs.
In his response, Mudenda said it was “not the responsibility of the chair to order them (MDC MPs) to come to Parliament” adding that Standing rules and Orders will be invoked against the absentee lawmakers at the appropriate time.
On Mliswa’s concerns he was now left alone to keep the executive on its toes, Mudenda urged the one time Zanu PF legislator to wait for this Wednesday to see if ruling party MPs had the spine to confront party bosses who now occupy ministerial jobs.
“As the only member, why can you not wait until tomorrow (Wednesday)? I believe Zanu PF MPs have the responsibility to hold the executive to account.”
On Tuesday, three MDC Alliance MPs, Mafuta, Rambanepasi and Makonya attended sitting in defiance of the party’s directive.