gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Mudenda rails at ‘gutter press’ in row over gagging of MPs – The Zimbabwe Mail

Mudenda rails at ‘gutter press’ in row over gagging of MPs

The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda
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HARARE- Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on Thursday spoke out against the media for publishing that Zanu PF was flexing its parliamentary majority in the legislature by gagging opposition parliamentarians from raising critical issues.

Last week, CCC legislator Gladys Hlatywayo was gagged from discussing the diplomatic gaffe made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Russia when he accused neighbouring Zambia of being a security threat to Zimbabwe.

On Tuesday, another MP wanted “criminals surrounding President Mnangagwa dealt with” but that discussion was shot down by Mudenda.

Acting Speaker Tsitsi Gezi also blocked debate in the National Assembly on opposition CCC party activists who had been arrested on Sunday at the home of ex-senator Jameson Timba in Avondale, Harare.

And on Thursday, Mudenda blocked another opposition legislator from pushing for a lifestyle audit of controversial tenderpreneur Wicknell Chivhayo and his business partners Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu.

Marondera Central MP Caston Matewu had sought to use legislative powers to push for an audit of Chivhayo’s wealth.

“I implore you as the Speaker of Parliament to direct the Public Accounts Committee to launch an enquiry into this matter so that the public is not shortchanged because the money came through the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” Matewu said.

“That ZIMRA conducts a lifestyle audit of these two businessmen to ensure that the public are not being shortchanged and that they are paying their fair share of taxes to the fiscus and they are also paying value added tax to those deals that they must have been given.”

But Mudenda insisted that parliament should wait for Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigations to conclude.

“The English saying is, ‘do not close the stable when the horses have bolted.’ I am sure you are aware of that saying. Your statement would have made sense and laudable if ZACC had not taken a step to investigate the issue on the same lines that you have just stated now. The investigation has started and if you have been following the press, the two suspects are out of the country as indicated by their lawyers. The lawyers are saying they will present themselves to ZACC and answer whatever queries are going to be raised by ZACC. So the horses have bolted unfortunately, thank you,” ruled Mudenda.

Matewu insisted: “I am not asking for what I asked before. I only wanted to say the Public Accounts Committee must call the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture to come and explain.”

Mudenda said it was too late for parliament to deal with the matter because the horses had bolted.

“It is a good suggestion but unfortunately, you must observe the doctrine of separation of powers. If one arm of the State is seized with the matter, you cannot just come up also as the legislature and start on the same process. Allow the Executive through ZACC to proceed accordingly. If you are not satisfied thereafter, which I doubt because they have to report to this House their findings, there is a special report. Why do we not wait for the report and then debate accordingly? We cannot have the criss-crossing of the responsibilities between the Legislature and the Executive,” he said.

Mudenda took the chance to dismiss allegations that he was not gagging the MPs.

“I hope the gutter press understands that I have not gagged you Including the gutter press who do not understand our Standing Orders and say that Hon. Tsitsi Gezi and Mudenda are gagging Members of Parliament, taking advantage of our majority in the House, which is not the case. We go by the Standing Orders, period,” he said. – ZimLive