Mudenda, Clerk Of Parly In Isolation As 50% Staff Test Covid Positive

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By Anna Chibamu

THE SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and the Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda have rushed into isolation after 50% of the parliamentary staff tested Covid-19 positive.

There was panic in the National Assembly Wednesday with proceedings delayed for more than half an hour as MPs argued over whether to adjourn business or continue sitting despite Covid-19 soaring cases.

The debate followed reports that half of the Parliament’s staff had tested Covid-19 positive while Mudenda and Chokuda were in isolation after coming in contact with staff members who later tested positive.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa raised concerns over the rise in positive cases and suggested Parliament should immediately adjourn.

“May we adjourn Parliament business. I am reliably informed that more than half of the staff of Parliament have tested positive to coronavirus,” Mliswa said.

“Our health is more important than anything else. If we do not adjourn now, this will make us irresponsible. We must lead by example as an institution. It’s criminal. It’s evil to continue with the sitting.”

Another MP interjected “Mliswa’s point is very valid, but let us continue and find the way forward,” while another added, “Buda uende Mliswa (Mliswa you are free to leave).”

Meanwhile, MDC Alliance Harare North legislator Rusty Markham claimed people arriving in the country were not going into quarantine as alleged by government authorities.

“There is a lot of contradiction. No one is being put under quarantine at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport,” he said.

“I was there yesterday (Tuesday) and what we are being told is not what is taking place on the ground. The responsible ministries are confused and the situation is chaotic there. Zimbabweans are at risk of contracting the virus because there is no quarantine taking place.”

However, Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi confirmed Mudenda was in isolation.

“The Speaker is on quarantine. The statistics from Mliswa are not correct. Those who tested positive are in isolation. Keep quiet Mliswa. Let us continue with the proceedings,” Togarepi said.

Acting Speaker Martin Khumalo ruled business should continue shooting down Mliswa and other MPs suggestion to adjourn.