Speaker tells Sikhala to let Biti speak for himself

Job Sikhala

Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda yesterday told Movement for Democratic Change Alliance vice-chairman Job Sikhala to let his colleagues who were expelled from Parliament, who included MDC- Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti, to speak for themselves after Sikhala accused Mudenda of blocking their return to the House following a High Court ruling that the person who had recalled them had no right to do so.

Sikhala had told Parliament that he understood that Mudenda had been served with a court order to re-instate the members but had turned down their re-admission.

Mudenda said, as a lawyer, Sikhala should not rely on hearsay.

“You see as a lawyer Hon. Sikhala, you are relying on hearsay from a third party in which you are not involved.  That is not admissible and I cannot entertain hearsay messages,” Mudenda said.

“What I can entertain is an approach by the affected party or parties to the issue, then I will respond to them accordingly.”

Six members of the People’s Democratic Party were recalled by Benjamin Rukanda who said he was the party’s secretary general but Justice Amy Tsanga ruled that Rukanda was not a legitimate official of the PDP.

Rukanda has, however, given notice that he is appealing Justice Tsanga’s ruling, effectively meaning that the expulsion of the six stands.

Those expelled were:

  1. Tendai Laxton Biti, Harare East,
  2. Willas Madzimure, Kambuzuma,
  3. Settlement Chikwinya, Mbizo,
  4. Kucaca Phulu, Nkulumane,
  5. Sichelesile Mahlangu, Pumula and
  6. Regai Tsunga, Mutasa South.

Full exchange between Sikhala and Mudenda:

HON. SIKHALA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My point of clarity centres on the decision and the ruling which you Mr. Speaker made a few weeks ago.  You read a notice in this House that you received a letter from the People’s Democratic Party that certain Members of Parliament have been recalled by the party of their deployment….

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, did you say I made a ruling?

HON. SIKHALA: No, you read a notice.  I said you read a notice Mr. Speaker.  So on your notice, you announced to this House that you received a letter of recall to six Members of this House on the basis that their party has notified your office. Mr. Speaker Sir, Members received…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, I do not announce letters of recall, I read them.

HON. SIKHALA: You read a letter….

THE HON. SPEAKER: Withdraw your statement.

HON. SIKHALA: I withdraw Mr. Speaker Sir.  You read a letter of recall but the letter however was recently set aside by an order of the High Court, where the Members have been asked to be reinstated to the House.  My understanding is that you were served with the court order. This is what I obtained from the Members who have been recalled and that you have turned down their re-admission to this House.  So, may I seek clarity from you Chair Sir….

THE HON SPEAKER: You see as a lawyer Hon. Sikhala, you are relying on hearsay from a third party in which you are not involved.  That is not admissible and I cannot entertain hearsay messages.  What I can entertain is an approach by the affected party or parties to the issue, then I will respond to them accordingly.

Source: The Inside