MPs walk out of Parliament

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
MDC-T members of the National Assembly walked out of Parliament yesterday, protesting the deferment of a ruling whether a motion about the whereabouts of political activist Itai Dzamara, should be discussed as an urgent issue.

However, Dzivarasekwa MP Mr Solomon Madzore (MDC-T) who was not in the chamber when his colleagues walked out emerged and sat to follow proceedings.

Mr Madzore went on to contribute to a motion that Zanu-PF legislators were debating relating to the role of the National Social Security Authority.

Dzamara, a journalist-cum-political activist, was allegedly abducted by unknown people and since then opposition elements have been calling for his release accusing State security agencies of being behind the alleged abduction.

Before walking out, the opposition legislators had disrupted Parliament business for more than 30 minutes as they sang and heckled Zanu-PF members insisting that the debate on Dzamara should take precedence. Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu-PF), later urged Parliament not to pay such errant legislators their allowances, accommodation and fuel coupons because they were abandoning their duty. Problems started when Kuwadzana East Member of Parliament Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T), rose to move a motion that business of Parliament should be adjourned to allow debate on Dzamara because the matter was of public and national importance.

Mr Chamisa argued that Parliament’s Standing Orders allowed matters that were of national importance to take precedence and said since the Dzamara case entailed right to liberty and security, it was within the Standing Rules and the Constitution.

Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Reuben Marumahoko initially ruled that the matter had received adequate attention as the responsible Minister responded on Wednesday during question time. This triggered MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese to rise on a point of order and said what was critical was to determine whether the issue at hand was what was contemplated by the rules of Parliament.

“It is clear that issues of security and liberty of a person are of paramount importance. It is a matter that is contemplated by the Rules. That is the reason why in terms of Standing Orders no notice has to be given,” said Mr Gonese.

Zvishavane Ngezi MP, Cde John Holder (Zanu-PF), subsequently rose to say that since the MDC-T had raised criminal allegations of abduction and kidnapping, debating the issue was sub-judice since the police were still making the investigations.