Mudenda, opposition MPs allowance row: MDC seek court redress 

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By Costa Nkomo

THE opposition MDC is set to approach the High Court in a bid to stop National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda from garnishing their allowances as punishment for walking out on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation address on Tuesday.

All MDC MPs walked out as soon as Mnangagwa began his SONA and officially opening the Second Session of the 9th Parliament for the second time inside a year after a similar stunt last year.

Mudenda told Parliament just after Mnangagwa left the chamber that he would advise Treasury to reverse five months allowances due to be advanced to MDC MPs.

“No allowances for the past five months. I would want to instruct the Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to withdraw their pay-sheet; no payment for debates of the outstanding balances and for today’s sitting,” Mudenda said.

In response, MDC national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo and her party secretary general Charlton Hwende told Wednesday that party lawyers are already preparing papers to challenge Mudenda’s ruling arguing the move is both unprocedural and unconstitutional.

“To us as the MDC, it is unconstitutional. It is not part of our Standing Rules and Orders. But the most shocking part is the misunderstanding of the role of an opposition which is to oppose anything that Zanu PF does as long as it violates the rights of the people of Zimbabwe because we are in Parliament to represent the people’s interests not Zanu PF.

“So as a party, we have handed the issue to our lawyers who are looking at that resolution made by Mudenda and then from there, we will take the necessary corrective action to have that issue corrected because he has no powers to make such a ruling,” Khumalo said.

Hwende concurred: “The Speaker has no right to take away rights and benefits enshrined in our Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Orders and Rules.”

The opposition claims it does not recognise the result of the presidential election but is happy with the parliamentary as well as local authorities outcomes.

Party leader Nelson Chamisa last year tried to have the presidential election result overturned but the Constitutional Court threw out his petition for lack of evidence.

Zanu PF has a two thirds majority in Parliament.

Hwende said his party is fighting for the restoration of the people’s rights.

“Our struggle as MDC is a people’s struggle. We are not bothered or moved by financial considerations. What is important is that we are fighting for the restoration of the people’s vote. We don’t recognise Mnangagwa. He is not a member of Parliament and we are not forced to pay obeisance to a Zanu PF leader,” he said.