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Biti, Zanu PF MPs face off

by Staff reporter
14 Mar 2020 at 23:56hrs | Views
THERE was drama in Parliament yesterday as Zanu PP MPs disrupted proceedings of the portfolio committee on Public Accounts, demanding that MDC MP for Harare East Tendai Biti recuses himself from chairing the meeting until his party recognises President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the country's legitimate leader.

The committee was sitting to get explanations from some of the 38 State-owned enterprises which have not had their books audited for various periods ranging from 2013 to 2019.

Zanu PP legislators Marko Raidra (Mberengwa East) and Dexter Nduna (Chegutu West) blocked proceedings, insisting that Biti should first tell his party president Nelson Chamisa that Mnangagwa's legitimacy was not in question.

Things came to a head when Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (Zacc) commissioner Gabriel Chaibva was about to give his evidence as Raidra raised a point of order, saying Zanu PP had several issues it wanted clarified.

"The point we want to make is that among several other issues, we dispute your chairmanship because you refused to recognise our president," Raidza said before Biti interjected.

MDC MPs walked out on Mnangagwa in August last year when he came to Parliament for the State of the Nation Address. Biti said it was improper for the MPs to argue in front of visitors, prompting him to ask Zacc officials and the media to go out for a while.

"We were on our own before we invited the visitors inside, but you never raised the issues you arc raising. I am sorry to Zacc that we are washing our dirty linen in public. Can you kindly excuse us so, that we discuss this," Biti said.

Zacc, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMI1C), the Zimbabwe Youth Council, Air Zimbabwe, Allied Health Practitioners Council, National Handling Services and other parastatals who had been invited by the committee as well as journalists from various media houses, were made to wait for over two hours as the MPs argued behind closed doors. With the committee shuffling back and forth seeking advice from Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda's office, Zacc officials were eventually called back. But the ruling party duo remained defiant, telling the Zacc officials that they needed to leave as the committee was not going to continue meeting with Biti in charge.

"This committee is not an MDC extension. We cannot proceed under your chairmanship," Raidza said before he was interjected again by Biti.

"The clerk has pronounced himself and the point he made was only buttressing the Speaker's earlier ruling, so neither you nor anyone else can hold this committee to ransom. If any member is not happy with me then they can exercise their right to leave," Biti ruled albeit with Nduna interjecting.

"If we walk out, it becomes an MDC committee so it cannot proceed. You have failed to recognise our president and now you want to take over Parliament. You as the MDC vice president should tell your president, by the way its Nelson who? Whoever he is that the president is in charge," Nduna said advising Chaibva to leave much to Biti's chagrin.

In the end, Biti stood his ground and asked Chaibva to present his evidence with Nduna and Raidra - out of visible fatigue - giving in. As business resumed after almost two and a half hours of haggling, the Zanu PP duo began to cooperate as they also started asking questions from the Zacc officials.

Source - dailynews