Ncube budget goof up backfires as MDC MPs block parly debate

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By Anna Chibamu

PARLIAMENT was chaotic Wednesday as MDC MPs stopped their Zanu PF colleagues from debating Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s 2020 budget statement while seeking an explanation over the Treasury boss’s mathematical boob when presenting the size of Chinese and American disbursements into the national economy this year.

The mistake was raised by the Chinese embassy last month following Ncube’s budget presentation in the house.

In his presentation, Ncube said Zimbabwe received just US$3,6 million from China under the development partner support received through bilateral channels when in fact it had availed US$136,8 million between January and September.

This prompted a spirited MDC bid to demand answers over the mix-up when it was time to debate the budget.

On Tuesday, the US also joined China in disputing the budget’s total donations made to the country during the year by Washington.

Proceedings came to a halt as deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi failed to contain the situation.

For almost 45 minutes, Parliament business came to halt as members from both benches shouted at each other.

MDC Dzivarasekwa MP, Edwin Mushoriwa told the deputy speaker that members from his party doubted the credibility of the entire 2020 budget statement suggesting that Ncube should provide explanations on why complaints were mounting over the statement.

“China and America have raised concerns about figures that have been raised by Mthuli Ncube. The figures on donations have been disputed.

“This has put the credibility of the national budget into disarray. Give a statement and clear allegations coming from the USA and China.

“We now question whether the figures that have been said are authentic or not.

“If he fails to clarify these figures, then it means everything contained in the 2020 budget is incorrect. This means we need a fresh start,” Mushoriwa said.

Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese called for the tabling and provision of the Appropriation and Finance Bills in the house.

“It is now more than two weeks since the budget was presented. But up to now we have not had the Finance Bill. Where are the copies?

“The Blue Book has been tabled but the Appropriation Bill has not been availed to members. Why does he (Ncube) have the guts to present a budget review statement when he has not given us the necessary documents?” Gonese said.

The MDC then chanted songs, “Ndezvechange chete, haiwa iwa!! (It is just about change and nothing else) and ‘Into oyenzayo siyayizonda (we do not like what you are doing).

Gezi told the opposition members that she had taken note of their concerns and allowed the debate to go on but the members continued to disrupt proceedings while also demanding the reinstatement of their colleague Proportional Representation MP Concilia Chinanzvavana who was replaced as Environment and Tourism Portfolio Committee chairperson by Zanu PF’s Zaka North MP Robson Mavenyengwa.

The MDC MPs alleged Chinanzvavana was removed violently. The MDC members were outvoted 15-3.