Parly moves to resolve Zanu PF, MDC impasse

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By Anna Chibamu

PARLIAMENT’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) is working towards resolving the stalemate between Zanu PF and opposition MDC MPs that has disrupted committee business, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said Thursday.

The committee sat on Thursday to deliberate on the issue.

Responding to questions from MDC Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya who rose on a point of privilege following the disruption of the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services committee business by Zanu PF MPs.

The ruling party MPs forced chairperson and Binga MP, Prince Sibanda to adjourn the meeting arguing they did not recognise him.

Of late, Zanu PF MPs have argued they do not recognise MDC committee chairpersons as retaliation for the opposition’s continued rejection of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election victory last year.

In response, Mudenda said: “Yes I hear you Honourable Member. This is symptomatic of a bigger problem which the Standing Rules and Orders Committee is seized with at the moment. These matters are being looked at in a broad manner.”

The disruption of Thursday’s committee meeting is one among many that have either been disrupted or postponed amid chaotic scenes this month alone.

On Wednesday, Sibanda expressed concern over the way Parliament business was being conducted arguing opposition members continued to face a blackout particularly from Leader of Government Business in the House and Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

During the question and answer session, Sibanda pointed out that Parliament’s democratic space was shrinking.

Last Friday, MDC vice president and Harare East MP, Tendai Biti, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, was forced to abort a hearing into the supply of inputs under the discredited Command Agriculture programme after Zanu PF’s Dexter Nduna pulled a stunt disrupting proceedings.

Mnangagwa won last year’s presidential election by a slim margin but the MDC, whose candidate Nelson Chamisa came a close second, rejected the outcome claiming the poll had been rigged.

Twice since last year, MDC MPs have walked out on Mnangagwa and also stayed away from the 2020 national budget presentation two weeks ago when the President was in attendance.