MPs taken aback as Parliament ‘muzzles’ debate on corruption

via MPs taken aback as Parliament ‘muzzles’ debate on corruption | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu on Thursday, March 6, 2014

In what could be the strongest indication yet that the ZANU PF government’s anticorruption drive is a sideshow, Parliament this week moved to bar MPs from making statements ‘suspected’ to be harmful to other people’s rights.

Speaker Jacob Mudenda claimed Wednesday that the move was meant to stop MPs from making what he termed ‘unsubstantiated’ statements under the cover of parliamentary privileges. Parliamentary privilege is a legal provision granting MPs protection against civil or criminal liability for actions or statements made in the course of their legislative duties.

The move comes after MDC-T MP for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya, claimed in Parliament that Zimbabwe Revenue Authority commissioner-general Gershem Pasi was earning $310,000 a month. Chikwinya further claimed that Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma was enjoying pay and benefits which he said were superior to those of the legislators. Pasi has since threatened legal action claiming that Chikwinya defamed him.

MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese told SW Radio Africa that despite cheers from some ZANU PF legislators ‘most of the MPs across the political divide were taken aback’ by the Speaker’s order. He said: ‘It is a puzzle as to why these issues should raise eye brows now because in the past we have been able to articulate issues which had come to our attention. From the face of it, it appears as if it is an attempt to muzzle debate’.

According to reports Mudenda warned that any MP who defies his order could be charged with contempt of Parliament. Mudenda said the charge could arise if a legislator uttered statements suspected to be false against fellow MPs or members of the public. A Thursday NewsDay report said Mudenda further banned MPs from ‘attacking the integrity of the administration of Parliament.’

However, Gonese urged public officials to be forthcoming with relevant information such as salaries and allowances. He said the government must allow free debate on corruption and avoid being seen to be blocking it.

Prior to Mudenda’s order, police in Harare banned a peaceful demonstration against corruption in state run institutions and local authorities. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association said it had intended to hand over a petition to local government minister Ignatius Chombo, under whom local authorities fall.

Bans on parliamentary debate and public demonstrations are largely seen as confirmation that the government is not serious about fighting corruption .It is widely believed that the revelations on corporate graft are more about ZANU PF infighting as opposed to being a genuine crusade against corruption.

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12 comments on “MPs taken aback as Parliament ‘muzzles’ debate on corruption
  1. Roving Ambassador says:

    We all new there is no will in Zanu to fight corruption. They should just close the doors of parliament and let bob and the junta do whatever. This is an opportunity for opposition to boycott and show their disgust. I suppose I am asking too much. They are all Zanoids. Oph! What a waste of oxygen.

  2. John Thomas says:

    Our parliamentarians are a dead loss. Certainly not worth what they cost to keep

  3. Fallenz says:

    What Parly..? Oh, THAT one… the one that took so much to get elected to “represent the people”, but gets nothing done unless ZANUPF sanctions it… the one that’s as useless as tits on a boar hog..???

    Apologies for speaking crudely, but that the way it is….. because Roving Ambassador and John Thomas are dead on.

    Welcome to the Kingdom of Zimbabwe..!

  4. Jono Austin says:

    Why does ZANUPF even pretend with any kind of charade. They can do what they want. Mugabe can say ‘yes I’ve murdered, yes I’ve robbed the country blind, yes I take care of myself and my cartel first and foremost-and what are you going to do about it?’ And every citizen will give a collective shrug, shuffle their feet and look at the ground. Pamberi ne Zimbabwe, Pamberi ne ZANUPF, pasi MDC and sellouts. What a joke!

    • Fallenz says:

      Jono, good question. It seems they are “playing to their base”… in other words, playing their thinly-veiled public-relation charades to those who support them and not question, the weak-minded, and the naive. They play it for their spin-miesters and apologists who use it to try to garner legitimacy for them.

      But, truth be told, they’re like the coiled death adder who thinks he’s hidden under a mosquito netting… at the same time he appears not only very dangerous, but also very much the fool because he ends up with his head crushed with a spade.

  5. CHINDUNDUMA says:

    Salary schedules of all Parastatals were handed over to The Office of The President and Cabinet we are told. So why are these schedules not made available to the MP’s so that their debates are based on facts and not rumours. Zanu Pf what is this circus all about. This Party has failed the country and Mugabe should be ashamed. Make the information public ah Zanu yakawora chokwadi!!!!

  6. Fallenz says:

    If that data has truly been collected, if it is deemed accurate and complete (which I think doubtful), and if it has actually been handed over, it is now under lock and key… and there is great fear that unauthorized access is sought by those who would publicize the information.

    Here’s an impossible mission… Let the MP’s set the stage by compiling an accurate and complete list of their own incomes, financial sources, and assets… and publish the list in it’s entirety. Gather and publish the data each year. Pass a law requiring future candidates for office to file such information when they declare their candidacy. Demonstrate to the citizens the transparency of their Parly members, and condition the citizenry to expect such openness from their government. Then, it becomes even more obvious that the king and his court of jesters and ministers are unwilling to share where taxpayer funds go, because you can bet ZANUPF is unwilling to expose itself to such audits for fear the information would find its way into courtrooms as evidence in criminal proceedings against them… which, no doubt, it should.

    Good luck, Mr. Phelps…

  7. Nyoni says:

    THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE MUST REALISE THAT ZANU WILL NOT CEDE POWER TO ANYONE. THEY ARE MASTERS OF OUR DESTINY .WE THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE OWE THEM EVERYTHING.EVEN TO BE BORN. The parasitical fools are truly a power amongst themselves.

  8. Honey says:

    All salaries paid from public funds must be publicized

  9. Tjingababili says:

    MPs ARE TOOTHLESS JOKERS!

  10. Mapingu says:

    We will continue to state it again & again for the benefit of those who doubt the sad reality. The things is: ‘Looting of public resources by Super-ZANU Group or Elite is sanctioned from above. This group views itself as the State, and they own everything in Zimbabwe – including the MPs themselves. This answers all the questions which the MPs are asking, including “why the same group of people are found various boards of state enterprises, while they possess no known special skills which others even in ZANU PF don’t have?”. This group of course is comprised the ZANU PF demi-god & his side-kicks.’

    So, the bottom line is to the old man, what we term corruption, looting, etc, by his group is nothing but a divine right for them. “Why shouldn’t we enjoy what we died for; does anyone really think we died to be poor or to continue eating out of out sweat like the lesser mortals? …..” So goes the justification by RGM and his elite group.

    So one needs to be really brain-dead to think anything will come out of so-called commissions. What we know is the MPs are simply going to be silenced sooner than later – some might even be heavily punished for questioning the looting spree by this untouchable group.

  11. Brian says:

    Why is anyone taking these corrupt clowns seriously? Worldwide these parliamentarians are the laughing stock of anyone with any intelligence yet, they “rule” Zim. What a bunch of impotent, terrified, leeches they are. Their day of retribution will come unless it is decided that this is the “African solution”.

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