via MDC-T accuses speaker of suppressing debate on ‘rigged elections’ | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda on Thursday, October 17, 2013
Parliamentary business came to a halt on Wednesday when opposition legislators accused the speaker of ‘suppressing their voice,’ leading to the House being adjourned for the day.
Trouble began when the speaker, Jacob Mudenda, deferred a motion raised by the MDC-T MP for Gweru urban, Sesel Zvidzai, calling for a debate on the SADC Election Observer Mission Report.
The SADC report on the July 31st elections contains some reservations over the conduct of the poll, which ZANU PF won by a two thirds majority. The MDC-T alleges the elections were rigged and debate on the motion would prove how President Robert Mugabe’s party manipulated the poll.
But when the speaker stopped Zvidzai from proceeding to move the motion, MDC-T legislators began singing, alleging that Mudenda was suppressing their voice. The singing by the MDC-T MPs was met with loud protests from ZANU PF legislators, who started singing revolutionary songs.
As the noisy scenes continued Mudenda adjourned the House for the day and announced that he would have to consider the constitutionality of the motion.
MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that it was unfair for the speaker to defer the motion when they had details of the motion two weeks in advance.
‘The speaker only stopped the debate on the motion following murmurs from ZANU PF MP’s. The document has been in possession of the House’s legal department and clerk of parliament for over two weeks,’ said Gonese.
He added; ‘If the speaker had reservations over the constitutionality of the motion, he could have raised it there and not to stop it in Parliament when it sailed through all the legal channels.’
The chief whip explained that debate on the motion was necessary as it seeks to look at the reservations raised by SADC and other observer missions.
‘Our elections do not fully meet international and regional standards. Our intention in raising such a motion is to ensure that our future elections meet both the regional and international standards, as opposed to what we witnessed in July.
‘Therefore there is need to debate the motion and not suppress it as Parliament is the institution that can investigate concerns raised by observer missions to ascertain whether issues they raised have substance or not,’ Gonese added.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora took to Facebook to query ZANU PF’s reluctance to debate the motion.
‘If ZANU PF won these elections fairly why is it afraid of the debate on the issue in Parliament? In this debate all evidence of voter rigging would be presented to the Parliament and therefore to the people of Zimbabwe.
‘ZANU PF, through Speaker Jacob Mudenda, is trying to suppress this debate by alleging that the motion is not constitutional. Our Parliament is there to debate everything that affects the people of Zimbabwe,’ said Mwonzora on his social media page.