MDC fights Jacob Mudenda over allowances

Published: 14 October 2019
THE MDC has dragged Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) over his decision to dock the opposition party MPs' allowances for five months.

The IPU is the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

MDC legislators walked out of Parliament before President Emmerson Mnangagwa had delivered his State of the Nation address recently and, as punishment, Mudenda announced that they would lose their allowances for five months.

However, in its letter to the union's chairperson, Gabriela Cuevas Barron, the MDC said Mudenda had overstepped his mandate.

"One of the challenges that our party and the nation at large have suffered in the last 39 years has been the crisis of legitimacy and party-government-State conflation.

"This has resulted in compromising the functionality of key national institutions such as the Judiciary and Parliament. This formal complaint is informed as a result of what our party feels is a deliberate partisan implementation of Standing Rules and Orders of Parliament by the Speaker of Parliament.

"Our decision not to stand up and eventually walk out of Parliament during the opening of Parliament and State of the Nation Address, was our democratic right to express our long standing position that the July 30, 2018 presidential elections were stolen, hence any beneficiary of that fraud ceases to be legitimate in our view.

"To our shock and even with the understanding that the Speaker has the powers to call to order any Member of Parliament, was the harshness of his punishment of our Members of Parliament, which has made us to reach out to your office," read the letter signed by MDC chairperson Tabitha Khumalo, who is also the leader of the opposition in Parliament.

In the letter, the MDC accused Mudenda of taking instructions from his Zanu-PF party.

"If his conduct was not motivated by partisan instructions from his handlers, and informed by deliberate disenfranchisement of our Members of Parliament, then there is no other justification for his decree.

"To punish and deny our Members of Parliament their well-deserved allowances in retrospect of five months, smacks of a political agenda. There was no allusion to any breach of parliamentary privilege and in any event, no proper due process to determine if indeed there was such.

"We have decided to make this complaint because your institution is motivated amongst many other things, to create strong parliaments, uphold human rights and peace building, of which as a party we feel that our Speaker of Parliament and our Parliament in general have been heavily compromised," said Khumalo.

In docking the MDC MPs' allowances, Mudenda cited Section 119 of the Constitution which sets guidelines for functions of Parliament.

However, the MDC said Mudenda had no such powers.

"The Speaker of Parliament has no powers to dock Members of Parliament's sitting allowances or prevent them from receiving their sitting allowances. Nowhere in the Constitution is the Speaker of Parliament empowered to do what you did.

"The Parliament of Zimbabwe, National Assembly Standing Rules and Orders do not allow him to do so either. Section 119 of the Constitution, which he purported to rely on, does not empower him to dock MPs' sitting allowances," added Khumalo.
- dailynews
Tags: MDC,


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