New MPs in baptism of fire
New members of Parliament from the ruling Zanu PF party received a baptism of fire in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Still trying to learn the ropes in the august House after emerging victorious in the just-ended national polls, the new MPs were subjected to incessant heckling and name-calling by legislators from the opposition MDC.
Interestingly, it was novices from the MDC who led the way in harassing their Zanu PF counterparts, among them Highfield West lawmaker Happymore Chidziva and James Chidakwa (Mabvuku-Tafara).
Zanu PF MP for Chivi South Killer Zivhu was particularly targeted for ridicule by lawmakers from the opposition, with MDC Binga South legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda and his Budiriro counterpart, Costa Machingauta, accusing him of being a thief.
“If proper investigations are done most of the Zanu PF MPs will be arrested because the majority of them are a bunch of criminals,” Machingauta shouted, apparently referring to Zivhu, before posing a question to the Chivi South MP: “by the way were you eventually cleared of the rape case?”
This was in reference to Zivhu’s fraud conviction in 2008 after he swindled scores of cross border traders of over ZW$11 million.
Zivhu has been adamant that he never served time in jail after the conviction because he appealed against the court’s judgment and left the country soon afterwards.
A visibly offended Zivhu could be heard complaining that the behaviour that was being exhibited by MDC legislators was rowdy and not expected of parliamentarians.
“This is not what I expect to see in Parliament. I thought this was a place where we sit down and engage in constructive debate that centres on national development so that we are seen to be properly representing the constituencies that elected us,” Zivhu could be heard complaining.
Other Zanu PF MPs were tricked into sitting on the opposition bench, with MDC Harare Central Murisi Zwizwai being the main culprit.
It only took the intervention of Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who had a torrid time in redirecting the new parliamentarians to the ruling party bench.
Zanu PF MP for Bikita East Johnson Madhuku, straight from becoming a headmaster of Pamushana High School, appeared lost in the National Assembly amid the chaos.
Omega Sibanda, Vungu constituency legislator and Zimbabwe Football Association deputy chairperson could also be heard remarking that “such behaviour in the house will cause some of us not to take it seriously and concentrate on being in the constituency”.
When the just-concluded eighth Parliament started in 2013, it was the likes of Makokoba MP Tshinga Dube who were at the receiving end.
Dube had struggled to read his prepared maiden speech and was forced to sit down after his extended time ran out.
He spoke in a very low voice, causing opposition MPs to lampoon him saying he was speaking to himself. Daily News.