Mutodi gets parly baptism of fire, Minister told house was not Mnangagwa’s private home

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By Anna Chibamu

NEWLY appointed Information and Publicity Deputy Minister Energy Mutodi Thursday got a taste of parliament’s hostile ambience when he was harangued and tossed by opposition MPs for failing to bow his head before the Speaker as should happen when one enters the legislative changer.

Led by Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala and joined by independent MP for Norton Temba Mliswa, opposition MPs took turns to dress down the government official for allegedly disrespecting the house.

Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda told Mutodi that parliament was not President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s private home where the President’s top ally was once pictured tossing a beer mug with the then Vice President when Zanu PF’s succession wars had reached tipping point.

“It does not matter whether you were once pictured holding a cup written ‘I am the Boss’ or not. When someone walks into this House, they have to be obedient to the rules of this House without exception,” Sibanda said.

Mutodi’s nightmare started when he walked into the house a little late.

But his offence was in his failure to observe parliamentary etiquette when he headed straight for his seat before he could bow his head before Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi.

“He could not simply just walk before the Speaker without paying respect. He must move out, come back and bow before the Speaker,” Sikhala said as a point of order.

Mutodi infuriated the backbenchers when he appeared to have been resisting the order by the Deputy Speaker to comply.

Kambuzuma MP, Willias Madzimure said Mutodi’s conduct was “total disrespect of the Chair”.

Mliswa weighed in saying, “we cannot allow people to be above the rules of Parliament”.

“I know that he (Mutodi) is new. I know that you (Deputy Speaker) are new but you must stamp your authority because I will equally do the same again without bowing. What does that make this House?”

But Sibanda was even more scathing of the Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi South.

“Honourable Mutodi should not try to come and advertise his proximity to the centre of power (Mnangagwa).

“He should not do that because the centre of power is not resident in Parliament. The centre of power is resident somewhere else at Munhumutapa Building (Mnangagwa’s office).

“But when he walks in here, he has to obey.”

Sibanda added of the Rhumba musician-turned government official, “I am sure the band is nowhere near here. This is not a singing platform where Honourable Mutodi can come in and start singing his failed songs.”

Mutodi is a known ally to President Mnangagwa, having been among some Zanu PF loyalists who braved then President Robert Mugabe brutal regime for openly bidding for Mnangagwa to take over as President.