MPs taken aback as Parliament ‘muzzles’ debate on corruption

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
06 March 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. 



8 Responsesto “MPs taken aback as Parliament ‘muzzles’ debate on corruption”

  1. Mandlenkhosi says:

    All this talk about corruption is silly. There is nothing wrong with corruption, it happens all around the world. Zimbabweans must not be allowed to think about corruption and ZRP should take action those people who may be thinking about corruption. If it were not for the filthy sanctions of the West, Zimbabweans would not need to use our corruption business strategy. The reason we have corruption in Zimbabwe is due to Ian Smith, Blair and Bush. All resources in Zimbabwe belong exclusively to ZANU PF so the riches of Zimbabwe are still in the hands of our ZANU PF so nothing has been taken or stolen because we still have it. Let us stop thinking about corruption and focus on the evil West and their friends.

    • THE BLACK ARISTOCRAT says:

      You sound like a deranged gangster from one of the New York Mafia families, who has been hitting the crack pipe a little too hard!

      Stop thinking about corruption ? What planet did you just fly in from? Zimbabweans and foreign investors have to think about corruption, because looting from the State is all the appalling Zanu PF thieves do every waking minute of their lives !

      Zimbabwe is now one of the most corrupt countries in the World according to the latest research, and it has all come about as a result of Mugabe and his henchmen setting a terrible example by robbing the country blind!

      Dirt poor Zimbabweans know these corrupt to the bone marrow Zanu PF reprobates could not afford 1% of their assets from the wages they have ‘earned’ ! Hence the need for a private Army and Police Force to protect them and their fabulous wealth from the proceeds of crime, while the rest of the country lives in abject poverty not knowing where their next meal is coming from!

      Zanu PF and its leaders should hang their heads in shame at what they have done to the country and its people – but since they could not care less about anyone but themselves and their stolen wealth, they simply don’t give a damn – never have and never will!

    • Wow no INTELIGENCE HERE!! in this RESPONSE OF YOURS (mandlenkhasi) spelt wrong purposely

    • wilbert says:

      Well by the same logic; there is nothing wrong with murder too because it too is happening all around the world!
      As regards corruption, Mugabe has not only denied there was no corruption in Zimbabwe but has invested a lot of time and money to whitewash and hide it. This is what has allowed the problem to grow and thrive. The Zimbabwe economy is in total melt-down and will suffer a borne breaking almighty crash unless something is down to end the rampant corruption.
      Muzzling the MPs and the nation is not going to rein in the corruption; that is Mugabe burying his head in the sand and hope against hope that the forest fire will mysterious stop! He should fight the fire or he will have his backside scotched!

    • Common Sense says:

      I think Mandlenkhosi is being a bit tongue in cheek (sarcastic)

  2. wilbert says:

    The move to muzzle parliament is not a surprise. Mugabe has been stung by all these story of rampant corruption for four reasons:

    a) all these 34 years Mugabe has vehemently denied that corruption was a serious problem, serious enough to be the root cause of the country’s economic melt-down. These stories prove beyond doubt that corruption was there and now it has grown into an all consuming monster. The stories prove beyond all doubt that Mugabe had been lying.

    b) The stories show just how deep rooted corruption has been, the damaged it has done and the enormity of the task of putting things right again.

    c) The people named in all these stories of rampant corruption are all high ranking Zanu PF leaders including Mugabe himself. It is clear that Mugabe has not only known that corruption was rampant but more significantly has done nothing to stop it because it was the glue that has held the party together.

    d) Last but most important of all, Mugabe knows if the national economy is to be saved from the almighty crash corruption must be stopped and stopped now. Since the whole Zanu PF regime is corrupt, especial Mugabe and his inner circle, the only realist way of ending the corruption is therefore to have regime change!

    Mention regime change and Mugabe and his cronies will start hyper ventilation straight away hence the regime’s renewed attempt to muzzle parliament and the country from talking about corruption. That is not doing to stop corruption and hence prevent the almighty crash.

    So hyper ventilating or not there will be regime change. The choice before us is to have regime change now and prevent the almighty economic crash or have it after the crash! By choosing to muzzle parliament it is clear what Mugabe want; the all-important question then is what do we, the people, want?

  3. david taylor says:

    The MP’s that are trying to expose this corruption really deserve the people’s support.

    Instead of building the country, ZANU-PF, like a massive parasite, is living off the backs of ordinary Zimbabweans.

  4. Original MANDLENKOSI says:

    MANDLENKOSI uri mhata yemunhu. Ru ZANU PF or pfungwa dzako dzakadhakwa how can u blame corruption in our country to the west. Someone paying himself over 300.000 a month and u still blame tony blair sheshuwa uri dutyi mhata yemunhu if u have nothing to say just read and keep quiet.

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