A feast of fists in Parliament as tempers flares up




Temba Mliswa

FIERY Norton legislator Temba Mliswa was ejected from the house together with Zanu PF MP for Harare South Shadreck Mashayamombe after the former Zanu PF allies nearly came to blows.

Mashayamombe and Mliswa were ejected following fierce disagreements on how parliament should handle the hot issue of MPs’ outstanding allowances.

The incident, which forced the adjournment of sitting on Wednesday, was a culmination of riotous scenes which dominated the house since the start.

The chaos also involved fierce arguments on who the leader of the house was between Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the newly appointed Justice Minister Happyton Bonyongwe.

Led by Mliswa, agitated MPs from across the political divide abandoned the business of the house as they confronted Bonyongwe on why their outstanding sitting allowances and long-promised Constituency Development Funds (CDF) had not yet been disbursed.

Mliswa, Tafara-Mabvuku legislator James Maridadi, John Holder (Zvishavane-Ngezi) and Thabitha Khumalo (Bulawayo East) were among MPs who harangued Bonyongwe on why allowances had not been paid to date.

Bonyongwe was at pains to plead with the MPs for time to investigate the fuller details of the matter with Treasury before committing himself to a response.

However, Khumalo asked Bonyongwe why the process of buying Isuzu twin cab vehicles for traditional chiefs was delay-free compared to those of legislators.

Mliswa added that the long-delayed disbursement of $50,000 CDF per MP was turning meaningless as the value was being eroded by inflation every day.

But in all this, Bonyongwe kept appealing for patience with the legislators saying he needed time to go and find details around the matter.

Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona pleaded in vain with MPs to calm down and allow normal business of the house to begin.

When it was apparent she was failing to control the MPs, Mashayamombe stood to plead with fellow MPs to accept the minister’s pleas for time to prepare a more informed response to their grievances.

But that brought a spark to an already volatile situation as Mliswa and Mashayamombe exchanged accusations and insults that led to their ejection from the house and temporary adjournment of sitting.

Mliswa accused Mashayamombe of lacking enthusiasm to have his money disbursed because he was a land baron better served by monies he allegedly stole from home seekers.

“Honourable Mashayamombe,” Mliswa said, “you should know that you are a land baron, you made money through land. So, do not come to us and tell us about our welfare. He stole, he is a land baron and that is why he has money. You are a land baron.  You are a land baron. You are a thief.”

Shocked by the sudden hostility, Mashayamombe tried to plead his innocence while remonstrating with Mliswa over his rants but the Norton legislator kept repeating the accusations, going further to allege he masterminded the Tuesday assault on popular musician Jah Prayzah at a funeral in the capital.

“You are a land baron, you are a land baron. Go and get your money from those people that you sold stands to, we do not have money.

“I am not Jah Prayzah that you can cause to be assaulted.  You are a thug and I am not a thug.  Did you not cause the assault of Jah Prayzah!  We will get to the bottom of this – I am done with you,” he said.

Mashayamombe had time to respond: “Hapana apo (nothing like that) You are the thug. On a point of order, he (Mliswa) is insulting me.”

But Mliswa continued: “You are a land baron, so sit down…go to your G40 where you steal money.

“You have destroyed the country and you have misled the leaders of this country.  Get away – go and sit down.  You are a land baron.  I am done with you.

“The truth hurts.  You now have a big stomach and where did you get the money from?”

The spat followed earlier drama in which MPs argued vehemently on who the leader of the house is.

VP Mnangagwa has been undisputed leader of the house until he was relieved of his Justice portfolio which was given to Bonyongwe recently.

VP Phelekezela Mphoko, who was part of the arguments, said Bonyongwe was leader of the house while deputy speaker Chinomona said it was Mnangagwa.

But that was before Mnangagwa had walked into the house. – NewZim