Mudenda warns Mahere over Parliament ‘thuggery and contempt’ tweet
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on Thursday warned Mt Pleasant MP Fadzayi Mahere against disrespecting the National Assembly following her tweet in which she claimed that the house “defied a court order to force fraudulent recall is a whole new level of thuggery and contempt.”
This comes after Mudenda this week enforced the latest controversial recall of 13 opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs at the behest of an “imposter” Sengezo Tshabangu.
CCC believes that Mudenda deliberately ignored High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi’s ruling interdicting him from making recalls until the matter between Tshabangu and the party is resolved.
But Mudenda said he announced the recalls before getting the court order. Mahere went on to tweet against Mudenda’s move saying it was “thuggery and contempt.”
She wrote: “…defying a court order to force fraudulent recall is a whole new level of thuggery and contempt. The brazen disregard for the rule of law confirms what we have always said, ZANU PF is anti-people, anti-democracy and anti-progress. We need new leaders”.
This prompted a Zanu-PF MP to question Mahere’s conduct saying: “This kind of tweet undermines the role of this Parliament.
“This platform is a democratic platform in which every Hon. Member who has an issue against your Chair or any of the developments that happen in this Parliament, can air their views and they can be debated fairly, but if we have an Hon. Member who goes out to tweet on the affairs of Parliament and on a development that has been done legally and procedurally, I think this should not be allowed to happen. I pray that Hon. Mahere be given a suitable punishment for such behaviour.”
The Speaker responded telling Mahere that the right to freedom of speech was not absolute.
“While the freedom of expression is respected and must be respected, it is important also that we as Members of Parliament, must also respect the provisions of Section 86 of the Constitution that these rights are not absolute.
“The only absolute rights are the rights to life, for example, such rights are absolute. The freedom of expression is not absolute and therefore, it must be exercised with greatest caution in respect of other people’s rights.
More than that, if the Hon. Member has got issues, they can be ventilated through question time, orally. They can be ventilated through a written question. They can be ventilated through a motion. Our Standing Orders do allow that.
“We do not encourage such behaviour which goes against the provisions of our Standing Orders. Our Standing Orders have got the force of the law and I do not want to be persuaded to act accordingly.
“I shall engage Hon. Mahere accordingly and advise accordingly. Hon. Hwende, when I am speaking, you should be silent. There is no contestation between the Chair and yourself. You must respect that.
“Although Hon. Mutodi is asking for some implied drastic action, I will start with the soft skill and if that soft skill is not appreciated, then the next step will be taken accordingly,” he said.
The latest recalled MPs are: Admore Chivero (Chegutu West), Stephen Chatiza (Goromonzi West), Gift Siziba (Pelandaba), Tapfumaneyi Madzimbamuto (Seke), Oliver Mutasa (Zvimba East), Amos Chibaya (Mkoba North), Emma Muzondiwa (Midlands proportional representative), Machirairwa Mugidho (Masvingo proportional representative), Constance Chihota (Mashonaland East proportional representative), Monica Mukwada (Manicaland proportional representative), Sekai Mungani (Midlands proportional representative), Linnet Mazingaidzo (Harare proportional representative) and Daphne Gutsa (Mashonaland East proportional representative).
Tshabangu also recalled Webster Maondera, Jameson Timba and Vongai Tome all from Harare, and Editor Matamisa and Ralph Magunje from Mashonaland West from the Senate.