National Assembly abandons sitting in Mnangagwa votes row

HARARE – A sitting of the National Assembly was abandoned on Tuesday after an MDC MP infuriated Zanu PF MPs by saying his party leader Nelson Chamisa polled “more than two million votes” while Zanu PF candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa “had more than a million votes” in the July 30 presidential elections.

Furious Zanu PF MPs demanded that Prosper Mutseyami, also the MDC chief whip, should withdraw his claim triggering a free-for-all as lawmakers from the two parties shouted across the floor and sang songs in support of their leaders.

Mutseyami (Dangamvura-Chikanga) sparked the furore while moving his motion about the “abuse of constitutional rights of vendors.”

The MP’s motion condemned “the wanton attack and lawlessness unleashed on vendors by state authorities” and demanded the provision of “alternative sustainable income generating infrastructure for vendors.”

“You would find that we have a population of people who are so much into what is going on in this country.  Take for instance the MDC party.  Its president had more than two million votes while the Zanu PF party had more than a million votes and of those millions, all these people are above 18 years of age and they are the people who are meant to eke out a living.  They are first time voters, they have a potential in most cases to do the best on their own, but they cannot access employment,” Mutseyami said.

Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi then raised a point of order, telling the Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi that “the mover of the motion is deliberately misrepresenting. He is saying the MDC candidate got two million and Zanu PF got one million. I think that is a misrepresentation which should not be allowed.”

Tsitsi then turned to Mutseyami and said: “Honourable Mutseyami, I think on that one you must withdraw and put the record straight.”

Mutseyami was not having it.

“Madam Speaker, I have said it very clearly, the MDC party candidate got more than two million votes and the Zanu PF candidate got more than one million. I have not said anything…,” he said before being interrupted by Zanu PF MPs.

The Deputy Speaker ruled again that Mutseyami “must withdraw that”, adding: “That’s not true, you must withdraw that.  Put the record straight Honourable Mutseyami.”

Mutseyami would not stand down, retorting: “The results are very clear Madam Speaker.  I will have to…”

The MPs on both sides then broke into song, with the Zanu PF MPs singing “ED Pfee, ED Pfee” while the MDC MPs sang “Chamisa Mai Mwana”.

After waiting five minutes for the MPs to calm down, Tsitsi was forced to adjourn the sitting.

According to official results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa polled 2,46 million votes while Chamisa’s commanded 2,15 million.

The MDC accused ZEC of fiddling the numbers to give Mnangagwa the edge, but Chamisa lost his election challenge at the Constitutional Court. Chamisa has refused to concede.