By Moses Matenga
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has blocked Members of Parliament affiliated to his party from chanting slogans that denigrate President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The move is likely to cement the commonly shared view that Mwonzora is a “Zanu PF project”, a charge he denies.
Mwonzora met his party MPs in Harare on Thursday where he read the riot act and ordered them to abandon the politics of hate in what will effectively stop the culture of walking out on Mnangagwa and singing anti-Zanu PF songs each time the President walks into the august House.
This has hitherto been synonymous with the opposition party since the contentious 2020 general elections when MPs under Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance vowed not to recognise Mnangagwa’s legitimacy, accusing him of rigging the July 2018 harmonised elections.
“Our policy is not to boycott Parliament, even if Mnangagwa is addressing. It makes no sense at all when people elected our parliamentarians to go to Parliament and then they boycott or they are ordered to boycott by the party leadership,” Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba said.
“It is short-changing the electorate. Party parliamentarians must take their work seriously. The time to sing in Parliament and walking out is over.”
He added: “To disrespect Parliament is to disrespect the voters. We now have a mature leadership at the helm of the party and we need to take advantage of this to engage Zanu PF on meaningful national issues respectfully as adults.”
The MDC-T leader said MPs should engage in constructive debate in Parliament and urged them to reject laws enacted to further shrink the democratic space, including the Patriot Bill introduced in Parliament recently by Zanu PF.
The Bill seeks to criminalise negative utterances made about Zimbabwe and has been denounced by democratic forces and the opposition MDC Alliance.
Mwonzora urged his MPs to fully represent the people and condemn human rights abuses and other ills. NewsDay