Parly uproar as deputy speaker rejects request for Dabengwa minute of silence

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By Anna Chibamu

MDC MPs were left stunned Tuesday when parliament deputy speaker Tsitsi Gezi rejected a request by their chief whip Prosper Mutseyami for the house to observe a minute of silence in honour of late struggle icon and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa.

When parliament sitting resumed Tuesday, Mutseyami asked Gezi why it was business as usual in Parliament while there was no attempt to honour Dabengwa.

MDC MPs, among them Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, immediately stood up to observe the minute of silence but were ordered to resume their seats by Gezi.

Independent legislator for Norton, Temba Mliswa came in to try and convince Gezi on the matter to no avail.

“According to our rules and regulations, we as parliament do not observe a minute of silence on national heroes who were not members of parliament,” said Gezi.

Mliswa also remonstrated with the deputy speaker that she was disobeying her boss, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, who told legislators during sitting last week that Dabengwa would be given his due honour by the house.

“The speaker ruled. Government and family must issue statements before Parliament. Why did the speaker not say that he (Dabengwa) did not deserve to be honoured by this House last week?” Mliswa stated.

He added, “Dabengwa was not only a veteran but, a member of this house too. This is a serious issue and we will all die one day. If we fail to recognise his hero status but, let us recognise that one of our (former) parliamentarians is no more.

“…Dabengwa was a member of this house and why can we not give him the respect he deserves?”

Other MPs also questioned why parliament honoured late music icon and natonal hero Oliver Mtukudzi when he was never an MP at any one point during his lifetime.

Dabengwa died aged 79 in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday last week while returning from India to where he had been flown a month before for advanced treatment.

His death has seen renewed bad blood between his party Zapu and the Zanu PF led government with the former refusing to allow the Zanu PF led administration to lead processes towards their leader’s funeral.