By Tererai Karimakwenda
Parliamentary debate on condolences to the family of the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru, which was scheduled for Wednesday, was scrapped after a majority of legislators walked out as the motion was announced. Parliament was then adjourned and the debate shelved till further notice.
Mujuru died recently in a fire at his farmhouse outside Harare, under suspicious circumstances that led to much speculation and anger within ZANU PF circles. The party’s youth and Mujuru’s family demanded an investigation, suggesting that foul play may have caused the fire.
The late Mujuru was considered a “kingmaker” in Zimbabwean politics and his wife Joice, as Vice President, was tipped a top contender to succeed Robert Mugabe. One of the many rumours is that the General was killed in order to tip the scales in favour of her ZANU PF rival, Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Sources close to parliament told SW Radio Africa that it was MPs affiliated with Mnangagwa who walked out to avoid debate on Mujuru, causing “a domino effect” that saw other legislators exit. The legislators walked out in response to the motion by Zanu PF Mwenezi East MP Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
Zanu PF MPs started walking out while Bhasikiti was introducing the motion, opting to go to the bar, prompting MDC-T legislator Settlement Chikwinya to raise a point of order with Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo that the House did not form a quorum and shelved the debate.
Khumalo ordered the bell be rung to call back members, some of whom obliged, but immediately walked out again in dribs and drabs as the Mujuru debate continued.
When Chikwinya reignited debate questioning the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Josiah Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo, Zanu PF legislator Paul Mazikana raised a point of order, saying the House did not meet a quorum. The bells were rung once again, this time for five minutes, but only one MP returned.
Zanu PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo meanwhile said the motion was blocked because of a lack of interest and had nothing to do with factions within his party. He said debate had to be adjourned for lack of a quorum noting that a number of parliamentarians had left to attend meetings on the new constitution at a Harare hotel. A minimum quorum of 25 is required for any motion to proceed.
Speaker of the House Lovemore Moyo, who returned to resume his duty, then adjourned the debate to today. SW Radio Africa/VOA/NewsDay
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