Mudenda defends ED rally during national ban on public gatherings

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By Anna Chibamu

NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda has defended President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has come under fire for congregating ‘thousands’ of Zanu PF followers at a Nyanga rally when he had already decreed a ban on public gatherings over coronavirus fears.

Mnangagwa Tuesday announced a raft of measures his administration had introduced to try and minimise the possible outbreak and spread of a disease that has devastated parts of the world, leaving 9 000 dead and more infected.

These included a ban on weddings, church gatherings and sporting events.

He went on to suspend the holding of the national Independence Day celebrations and the 2020 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

However, little did Zimbabweans know that the first person to violate the order was going to be none other than the national leader himself.

MDC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami Wednesday took Mudenda to task on why the President was violating his own rules through holding a rally.

“Those who put the rules abuse them. How are we going to deal with this inconsistency,” said Mutseyami.

However, Mudenda defended the holding of the rally saying the event’s plans were already at an advanced stage so it was impossible to cancel it.

“I hear you, Honourable member.

“Arrangements were at an advanced stage. So, this is why the event went on today (Wednesday),” the speaker responded amid jeering from MDC bench.

As speaker of parliament, Mudenda enjoys oversight role over the executive, which is led by the President.

However, at party level, Mudenda is a Zanu PF politburo member who is subordinate to Mnangagwa.