By MOSES MATENGA/JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The opposition MDC yesterday continued with its protests against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy and snubbed the 2020 national budget presentation over his presence in Parliament.
All the MDC MPs were a no-show during Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s budget presentation, with party national chairperson Tabitha Khumalo telling NewsDay that they were all attending funerals of two party cadres who perished in an accident.
“All roads are leading to Chivhu now after burying our hero in Marondera. We have no control over the funeral programmes and our heroes deserve a befitting send-off,” she said.
“There is no way we can cancel the funeral over Parliament. We are burying our heroes.”
Speaking during the burial of Marondera MDC branch chairperson, Paul Chikuni, at Paradise Cemetery, the opposition party’s deputy national organising secretary Sibusisiwe Masara said:
“We are here to bury our own brave cadres like Chikuni. We are not bothered about attending today’s budget meeting at Parliament. Why do we attend a budget when we know there is no money?
We are not going to attend that meeting.”
Close to 40 top MDC leaders, including legislators and senators led by the party acting president Lynette Karenyi-Kore, attended the burial.
Chikuni (34) died on Sunday night in a car accident in Ruwa while driving from an aborted Mabvuku rally.
The rally was banned at the last minute.
Another activist, Admire Takawira, also died, while Moore Maradza escaped unscathed.
MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende said his party’s MPs participated in the budget processes and would also take part in the debate process despite a no-show in Parliament.
“Our MPs have already participated fully in the budget process. We are now waiting for the debate in Parliament. Today’s budget presentation does not change anything. Attending and following on TV is exactly the same. No debate is allowed or conducted today. It’s all optics for ED,” he said on micro blogging site, Twitter.
Before and during the budget presentation, police and the military sealed off the Africa Unity Square, where Zanu PF supporters sang and chanted revolutionary slogans for the better of the day.
There were running battles with police arresting some youths suspected to be MDC supporters.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda threatened to act on MDC MPs for boycotting Parliament, with Norton MP Temba Mliswa calling for authorities to whip the opposition legislators for their actions.
Ironically, the opposition MPs participated in the budget consultative meetings, including the controversial Victoria Falls jamboree which saw them pocketing huge amounts of money ahead of today’s presentation.
Ncube described the budget as people-centred and introduced a raft of measures that seemed to respond to the prevailing economic crisis. NewsDay