2016 Review: Moments of Madness in Parliament of Zimbabwe

By Portia Sigauke

More than half of the 292 legislators in the eighth Parliament have not made any meaningful contribution to the legislative agenda before the august House, raising questions about the caliber of individuals sent to represent the interests of the people in the legislative assembly.

While some MPs featured prominently on both the impromptu questions time and the questions with notices, the majority of MPs appeared to be just figureheads who make numbers in the crowded chamber.

However, we take a closer look at the Parliament’s giggle moments that set social media ablaze, moments that made headlines and some embarrassing moments.

Chamisa in near fist- fight in Parliament

Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) and Zvishavane-Ngezi MP John Holder (Zanu PF) brought the august house to stand still after the two legislators nearly exchanged blows during a heated debate over the fast-tracked Local Government Bill.

Tempers flared as MDC-T legislators demanded they be given time to study the Bill before approving it, and in the ensuing melee Chamisa riled Zanu PF MPs, when he insinuated that they had little knowledge of Parliament’s Rules and Standing Orders.

This did not go down well with most Zanu PF MPs, as they felt insulted by Chamisa’s comments, forcing Holder to confront him menacingly, but he was restrained by fellow lawmakers, causing commotion in the House, which lasted for an hour.

MDC-T MP barred from Parliament for wearing a national flag jacket

Mutasa South MP Trevor Saruwaka also grabbed news headline after the dreadlocked lawmaker came to parliament clad in a multi-coloured fashion jacket with colours associated with both the Zimbabwean flag and that of Rastafarians.

Sarawuka was chucked out of Parliament building during the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament.

In defence of his choice of clothing Sarawuka said “The colours I was wearing take a meaning in my Rastafarian faith and I feel prejudiced and discriminated”.

Of which in my opinion I think he was right since the jacket did not carry the national emblem and there was no the colour white on it.

“My faith is deeply grounded in pan-Africanism, and on a day with a lot of importance like the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament a day important to the development of our country through a presentation to the people’s representatives, I felt one ought to be allowed to dress to their best comfort,” Sarawuka told a local publication.

Parliament Chaos as Female Legislators are manhandled by police

There was complete pandemonium in Parliament after police ill-advisedly stormed the National Assembly to rough up opposition legislators following a bizarre attempt by authorities to eject an MDC MP from the august House for wearing a jacket adorned in the colours of the Zimbabwe flag.

The unprecedented action by the police which even some Zanu PF legislators described as “utterly shocking” came after acting Speaker of Parliament Mabel Chinomona surprisingly ruled that MDC MP Costa Machingauta be removed from the House for proudly wearing his colourful jacket arguably one of the highest demonstrations of patriotism and nationalism by a citizen.

Sarah Mahoka calls MDC Mps “prostitutes”

MDC-T legislator, Susan Matsunga (Proportional Representation) claimed that a police officer had fondled her breasts during the scuffle and had also torn her pants.

The claims prompted the outspoken Sarah Mahoka to label her fellow colleagues in Parliament prostitutes claiming she had recorded the incident on her camera.

MDC Mps takes #Thisflag protest to Parliament

MDC legislators took #Thisflag concerns to Parliament a move which did not go down well with the Zanu Pf Mps accusing the #Thisflag crusader Pastor Evan Mawarire of inciting violence, seeking to destabilise the country.

This followed after two MDC Mps came to Parliament with their national flags wrapped around their necks in solidarity of the concerns raised by the man of cloth.

Zanu Pf Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka accused the legislators for bringing the violence tendencies to Parliament citing that the opposition party had introduced violence and sanctions to Zimbabwe.

Thabitha Khumalo claims Parliament too dirty and stuffy

Not to be outdone in courting Controversy in Parliament is the outspoken Bulawayo East legislator and MDC-T National Deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo who stormed out of Parliament citing that the environment was too dirty posing a serious threat to her health.

Khumalo said Parliament was denying her the right of being an Mp by not cleaning the house whilst they knew she was asthmatic.

Raising a point of order, Khumalo said I realise that this Parliament is taking other people’s health for granted.  I am sure you are aware that I am asthmatic; you are denying me my right as a Member of Parliament, elected in Bulawayo East to sit in this august House and represent the Bulawayo people”. 

Khumalo said she was struggling to breath in Parliament and her right to good health was exposed.

“I am saying so because I am failing to breathe in this House and you are not evening cleaning.  My question is, do I not have a right for my health to be protected in this House,” she questioned.

Well we leave it here,we hope to see less drama and more legislative progress in 2017.

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