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'MPs must recognise Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter
29 May 2020 at 14:33hrs | Views
ALL Members of Parliament - including those from the opposition - will now be expected to recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa following the adoption of new rules by the august House.

Parliament is now using new Standing Rules and Orders after MPs on Tuesday approved a motion by Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi for the adoption of the 2020 edition of the procedures.

The new rules that will, among other things, force MPs to recognise Mnangagwa as the legitimately elected head of the executive, were approved after Zanu-PF MPs adopted them without debate in the absence of boycotting MDC legislators.

Only five MDC legislators loyal to interim MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe out of the party's 89 attended the National Assembly sitting with the rest heeding her rival Nelson Chamisa's call to boycott in solidarity with their four recalled colleagues, Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Prosper Mutseyami (Chikanga Dangamvura) Tabitha Khumalo (proportional representation) and Senator Lilian Timveos (Midlands).

When National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda put it before the House to whether there was need to debate the motion on Tuesday, it was met with a chorus of "no debate".

In the end, the standing rules, which were last week circulated to all legislators electronically, were dully approved.

According to the new rules, Standing Order 86 has been titled "Respect of the president".

"The Committee agreed that new Standing Order Number 86 be inserted to read as follows; members shall observe utmost dignity and decorum during the president's address" and that "a Member shall not disrupt or interrupt the president's address through disorderly conduct," part of the rules read.

Furthermore, standing order 108 speaks to the definition of "Disorderly Conduct" in Parliament which was not clear in the old rules.

The new one which provides that a member is deemed to have committed an act of disorderly conduct if he or she "defies a ruling or direction of the Speaker or chairperson of Committee, attempts to or causes disorder of whatever nature during the attendance of the president or a visiting dignitary in terms of Standing Order 85; or during an address by the president in terms of Standing Order 86".

This comes after the Chamisa-led MDC-Alliance MPs have since the 2018 disputed elections, been waving the legitimacy card against Mnangagwa, arguing that he rigged himself to power notwithstanding the Constitutional Court ruling upholding his victory.

Some of the actions the party has taken to show their disdain for Mnangagwa include walking out on him at public functions, including Parliament.

In August last year, the opposition backbenchers refused to stand up in the president's honour when he entered the National Assembly to present his state of the nation address (Sona) before walking out as soon as he began his address.

An MP is also deemed to have acted in contempt of Parliament if he or she declines to retract words ruled unparliamentary by the Speaker, or declines to offer an apology, when ordered to do so.

It will also be rendered contemptuous if one demonstrates or makes disruptive utterances against the suspension of a Member, uses violence against a Member or other person in the House or Committee, attempts to or disrupts the Speaker's Procession when entering or leaving the Chamber; attempts to or removes the mace from its place in the Chamber; or acts in any other way to the serious detriment of the dignity or disorderly procedure of the House.

A member whose conduct is deemed grossly disorderly may be ordered to withdraw from the precincts of Parliament for the remainder of that day's sitting.

 If a member is named under Standing Order 111 for disorderly conduct, the suspension period shall be four sitting days on the first occasion in the same session, excluding the day of suspension, on the second occasion in the same or subsequent Session, another eight and 16 days on the third or a subsequent occasion in the same Session.

"A Member who is suspended from the House shall, during the period of suspension not enter the precincts of Parliament or participate in the activity of Parliament or a Committee of Parliament," the rule reads.

Source - dailynews

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