MDC-Alliance Members of Parliament have come under fire for performing political antics which cost the taxpayer over $100 000 through the re-sitting of the House last Friday. The National Assembly had to re-sit last Friday, when it prematurely adjourned the previous day after MDC MPs walked out so as to create a quorum crisis when the House was about to debate two crucial Bills — the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill and Companies and Other Entities Bill.
Parliament does not ordinarily sit on Fridays, but had to re-convene in terms of standing orders since there had been a quorum-induced adjournment as was the case last Thursday, thereby costing taxpayers a fortune in sitting allowances, accommodation, fuel, meals, printing of stationary among other costs.
Parliament has total of 270 MPs each getting $75 sitting allowance and at least $300 in accommodation.
Zengeza West legislator Mr Job Sikhala (MDC-Alliance) rose on a point of order to notify the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, that there was no quorum only for him and fellow legislators to walk out as the bells were ringing to invite other legislators who were outside.
The move by Mr Sikhala surprised everyone including Adv Mudenda, who latter implored MDC MPs to take the House seriously.
“Honourable Sikhala, I thought you were hungry for debate. Call your colleagues back.
“Hon (Tabitha) Khumalo, you have demonstrated good example, but the head of train without a trailer or trailers cannot move, you tried, but can we send a word that in the national interest and respecting the tax payers’ money, we need to do business as much as we can so that we cover up in the legislative agenda. I would urge you as the national chair of the main opposition party to ensure that next week when we come back, we have to cover what should have been covered today plus much more which will be presented to us by the Leader of Government business so that we are within the time lines of finishing the legislative agenda during this session. It is very important,” said Adv Mudenda.
In an interview, Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Obedingwa Mguni castigated MDC-Alliance legislators for walking out in order to scuttle sitting of Parliament.
“They walked out trying to sabotage the quorum. They did not want the Bills before Parliament which were pertinent. We had to re-sit the following day and obviously costing taxpayers in accommodation, meals, and sitting allowances among other costs,” said Cde Mguni.
“It is not only a waste of resources, but they would be short-changing constituencies as MPs will now have to spend more time in Parliament unnecessarily.”
MDC-Alliance Chief Whip Mr Prosper Mutseyami said they had to rush to attend funerals of party activists who died in a road accident in Kwekwe in which Glen View South legislator, Mrs Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java was hospitalised.
“We have no iota of reason to want to sabotage the institution of Parliament, we respect it a lot. We had to attend two funerals of our party activists,” said Mr Mutseyami.