LEGISLATORS have this week been wasting a lot of debate time on childhood pranks and useless interjections during Parliament sittings.
This has been the norm whenever Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, a stickler for order and protocol, is not present in the House.
The skirmishes in the House by MPs are more prominent whenever the deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi is presiding and it was even worse this week when Buhera North MP William Mutomba was the acting Speaker.
Yesterday, MPs spent almost an hour disagreeing with each other along partisan lines and interjecting fiercely over different issues.
There was singing and chanting of party slogans when chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Kindness Paradza (Makonde) MP announced that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had approved issuing of diplomatic passports to MPs.
“On behalf of the 350 MPs, I would like to announce that for the first time since independence, our MPs are going to have diplomatic passports,” Paradza said.
“We want to thank Mnangagwa for extending this privilege to all MPs, whether in opposition or the ruling party, our MPs will have diplomatic passports,” he said, adding that any MP who will misuse the passport risked losing it.
This caused noise as Zanu-PF MPs bragged about the President’s generosity, while opposition MPs did not show any appreciation at all.
The Zanu-PF legislators then began singing ED-PFeee with the opposition fighting back by singing Chamisa Chete Chete.
On Tuesday, time was also wasted through interjections as Gokwe Chireya MP Torerayi Moyo alleged that MDC MP Dorcas Sibanda had said he was wearing shoes with holes.
Although skirmishes have largely disturbed the flow of debate in the House, MPs have managed to raise pertinent issues during budget debate.
Meanwhile, debate on the Second Reading Stage of the Maintenance of Order and Peace Bill (Mopa) was adjourned because amendments on unconstitutional clauses had not been included in the National Assembly Order Paper.
Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema had tried to fast-track debate on Mopa, but Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya successfully stopped it when he raised the issue that MPs needed to study the amendments first.
The Parliamentary Legal Committee had passed an adverse report on Mopa, saying there were unconstitutional clauses, and the Bill was further amended.
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Source – newsday