There was drama in Zimbabwe’s Parliament yesterday after police were called in to remove an opposition legislator who had refused to leave the House after being ordered to do so because he was dressed inappropriately.
Movement for Democratic Change legislator Costa Machingauta was asked to leave the House by Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona because he was putting on a jacket with national flag colours.
When Machingauta refused to leave, Chinomona asked the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove him, but Machingauta refused to leave the Chamber forcing the Sergeant-at-Arms to seek assistance from the police. MDC-T legislators, however, barricaded the police leading to a scuffle before police bundled out Machingauta.
MDC-T legislator Susan Matsunga said that a police officer had fondled her breasts during the scuffle and had also torn her pants.
Sarah Mahoka of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front claimed some legislators had fondled breasts of female police officers and she had recorded that on her camera.
2016 PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the annual pre-budget seminar will be held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Grounds from 2nd -6th November 2016. Departure from Harare will be on 2nd November, returning on 6th November 2016. The flight from Harare on 2nd November, 2016 will depart at 1830 hours arriving in Bulawayo at 1915 hours. On 6th November, 2016, the flight will leave Bulawayo at 0815 hours arriving in Harare at 0900 hours.
Hon. Members are reminded that only members from the following provinces will travel by air; Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland.
HON. HOLDER: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order is on Standing Rules and Orders Section 76 which says that “every member must appear in attire befitting the dignity of the House”. May you please examine how one of the Hon. Members is dressed in this House.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Which Hon. Member are you referring to?
HON. HOLDER: Hon. Machingauta.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Who is Machingauta?
*HON. HOLDER: Akapfeka marishe uyo.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Machingauta, can you please stand up –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- Order, order Hon. Members! Order! Hon. Members, you expect the Chair to give a ruling but you are making a lot of noise. What do you want me to do? Anyway, Hon. Machingauta, can you please go out and dress properly –[HON. MEMBERS: Haaaaaaaaa!]-
HON. MACHINGAUTA: On a point of order –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Machingauta, would you please go out.
HON. MACHINGAUTA: On a point of order –[AN HON. MEMBER: What is the problem?]-
HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of order is in line with the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Amendment Number 20 of 2013 Act. Section 139 (3) which I have quoted, the reason why I am quoting it is because last week in Parliament there appeared a Member in a safari suit of several colours – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members, order. I was in the Chair. I am the same person who was talking about that person. A safari suit is quite different from what you are putting on – [HON. MACHINGAUTA: Handisati ndapedza. Ngavandipe mukana ndipedzise.] – Hon. Machingauta, would you please leave the House, go and put on something. You cannot present wearing that – [HON. MACHINGAUTA: But why? Mabasis acho ndeapi kuti moti ini ndibude but vanouya vakawanda vakapfeka macolour akawanda and it happened in this House mukavabvumidza kuti vagare. Iyemi pachenyu makapfeka red and black zvandakangopfekawo ini but moti ini ndibude. Why? Which basis are you using to remove me out of this House? Which basis are you using? And there is no Zimbabwean bird, it is just a jacket. Akaramba ndiani? Which Constitution? MuStanding Rules and Orders hamuna izvozvo. Constitution haina nyaya dzakadaro. Saka zviri kubva kupi nyaya dzakaita saidzodzo? Hamuna izvozvo saka vanofunga kuti tinenge tisingazvizive. Iwe taura kuti unoda kundibuditsa nenyaya yakati. Saka usingataure nyaya yacho ndeyei.] – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Holder enda unogara uko tonosangana kuZvishavane ndiri kuuyako] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Order, Hon. Machingauta please – [HON. MEMBERS: No!] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER having asked the Sergeant-at-Arms to escort Hon. Machingauta out of the House, Hon. Machingauta refused to leave the Chamber upon which the Sergeant-at-Arms sought assistance to escort Hon. Machingauta from the Zimbabwe Republic Police; all MDC-T Members rose in their places barricading the police. After a struggle with the MDC-T Members, the ZRP bundled Hon. Machingauta out of the Chamber.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Can we have order please? Order in the House. Order! If you do not want to have order, you can as well go out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Order, order! Can we have order please? Order, order! Hon. Members, can we have order in the House. Hon. Chamisa, I am talking to Hon. Members to have order in the House. Can you please take your seat? According to Standing Order Number 110…
HON. MARIDADI: Tirikumboda kutaurawo mhani. Standing Order yekuita sei? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Can we have order please? According to Standing Order Number 110 any member who disregards the authority of the Chair or persistently and willfully disrupts the business of the House commits an offence for which he or she may be suspended from the service of the House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I wish to state and place on record, Hon. Madam Speaker, that we are very clear in terms of the rules and statutes that govern this Parliament and I am very cognisant and alive to the order or Standing Rule that you have quoted and cited which is Standing Order No. 110 in terms of temporary suspension from the House. What is very clear is that the rules of Parliament, as perfectly understood, do not give any authority to the invasion of a police force or details into the Chamber –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- You are aware that I was part of those who drafted the Standing Rules and Orders and you are aware that we have had extensive discussions on the laws that govern this Parliament.
If you have regard to the Constitution, Madam Speaker, it is very clear. We have the separation of powers – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Now, within the precincts of Parliament we have authorities and authority within this Parliament and within the precincts of Parliament, police officers cannot come in to interfere with Members of Parliament.
I challenged you Madam Speaker, to say show us in terms of the rules where police officers can be summoned into the Chamber. There is no law to support that. I asked legal gurus and pundits to say where is this in terms of the law. It is not part of the law. Our biggest problem is that some of the police officers who came in here, in full view of the public actually harassed some female Members of Parliament – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ndabatwa mazamu]- Sexual harassment by our own officers –[HON. ZWIZWAI: Zvaiita Trump zviya zviya]- Sexual harassment is a very serious offence in terms of the laws of the country. I know it is very easy when you are not a victim of certain misapplication of laws. You will not appreciate it.
We want to understand and underscore that what we have seen in terms of Section 148, we are supposed to have Members of Parliament being respected for what they do, what they say, who they are and part of the dress code is a speech which cannot be cured by issues of bringing in the police. Madam Speaker, until we have had an explanation from your Chair or Government why police officers have been brought into this Chamber, we are unlikely to cooperate with your Chair for now –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- because we have laws and rules that govern this Parliament. We need an explanation on why police officers have been brought in here violently to abuse and use police brutality mechanisms against Members of Parliament when we know that we have criminals who are out there including Ministers who are supposed to be arrested. We want to understand –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-May you furnish us with an explanation why it has happened? –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa, how do you expect the Chair to explain?
HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, we do not want the tyranny of the office. We do not want the abuse of your office. We do not want you to be abused by certain partisan and foreign interests. We want you to understand that there are rules. Dress code in terms of our own national colours of the flag is not unlawful, is not illegal and we will not accept a situation whereby you come here to make a ruling that oust the Constitution, that oust the rule of law, that oust our legality. We cannot have that. May you address us on why police officers entered and in terms of which rule of our laws?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I asked Hon. Chamisa to control the Hon. Members so that I am able to explain what happened and you were here. I cannot explain now because once I start explaining the whole bench starts shouting. So, how are you going to understand what I am saying?
I told Hon. Machingauta to go out and dress properly but all Members of Parliament on my left were against that and encouraged him not to obey the Chair. This is why I asked the Serjeant-at-Arms to help Hon. Machingauta go out. This is how it came about that the Serjeant-at-Arms could not move Hon. Machingauta out of the House. This is how he sought help from the police to come in –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am quoting Section 108 on disorderly conduct in the Chamber. Hon. P. D. Sibanda and Hon. Gabbuza had to beat a police officer in the Chamber –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Before she comes in, there is a point of order from Hon. Mukwangwariwa. Hon. Mukwangwariwa, there was TV here and we are going to study what was coming out when you said Hon. Prince Sibanda and Hon. Gabbuza were … -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- We are going to study what was coming out. There is no problem.
*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity to speak. I was felled to the ground and my breasts were fondled. My phone was destroyed and I am saying the truth.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Can we have order please? I want to give a ruling on what she has said. [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- How can you talk? I want to give a ruling on what she has said.
Order, Hon. Matsunga alleges that her breasts were fondled by the police. [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Hon. Members on my right, please you have to listen for the sake of the Hansard because once you make noise, you will not hear anything about my ruling. The same applies to the previous Hon. Member who spoke. The police office officers came in here and the television cameraperson was here and we are going to study all those allegations that you are making. There is no problem.
*HON. MAHOKA: I stand to support the point of order raised by Hon. Mukwangwariwa that the police officers were being fondled by Hon. Members. They also assaulted the police officers. They fondled the female police officers’ breasts. I have recorded it and I have it here on this phone. We have recorded all that.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police officers have been assaulted by the MDC Members of Parliament. The lawmakers were assaulting police officers and fondling women police officers’ breasts – that is unheard of and it is dishonourable.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mahoka, that one is a private camera. We are going to use official cameras from the television that are allowed into this Chamber. Will you please take your seat?
Hon. Chamisa, you were saying, how come the police came into Parliament. Yes, according to Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Section 25 – arrests without warrant. ‘Any person who creates or joins in any disturbances in or within the vicinity of Parliament, whilst Parliament is actually sitting may be arrested without warrant on the verbal order of the Speaker and kept in the [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
Order, order. Hon. Chamisa, I want to complete. I have been listening when you were talking. With the order of the Speaker and kept in the custody of an officer of Parliament or a police officer until a warrant is issued for his detention in prison.’
I did not call in the policemen to arrest but to help the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove the person only – just that. [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. CHAMISA: Madam Speaker, I wish to just say, all the laws that you are reading, there is a difference between any other person and a Member of Parliament. Any other person is a person who may come in here but not a Member of Parliament – [AN HON. MEMBER: In terms of what law?] – Yes, in terms of that law, it is not even a Member of Parliament, you can read it. Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Speaker, we want to utilise this opportunity to ask questions from our Ministers so that they respond to legitimate concerns affecting Zimbabwe. However, we also have to address some fundamental issues. The fundamental issue is that our Constitution is the supreme law of the land. I may wish to read for you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You cannot continue reading that Constitution, all these Members of Parliament have that Constitution.
HON. CHAMISA: I am making a recommendation; I will not refer to the Constitution. I would have referred to the sections that are very clear because there is a wrong interpretation being given by Mr. Chokuda, he is giving wrong advice. It is a wrong interpretation and we need to correct you Madam Speaker because it is misleading your Chair. There is a supreme law of the land, it is not going to be ousted by that subsidiary Act, which is not even referring to Members of Parliament, but that is not an argument.
Why can we not have an inquiry into how the police entered this Chamber because it is not allowed at law to have police officers come into Parliament in terms of Section 148, you cannot have an arresting of a Member of Parliament. We must have people being charged, those who did it, even if it means that we are going to have the Sergeant-At-Arms explaining why we ended up having police officers in the Chamber. That will be fair, otherwise it will be difficult for us to understand why we should continue having – the next time it is going to be the army, and then the United Nations. Why should we have the army, the United Nations or even Border Gezi? Why should we have riot in Parliament – that is my question?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, while we are looking into that, can we have another point of order coming.
HON. P. SIBANDA: I have decided to ask for clarification from the Chair. This is coming from a point of order raised, the complaint that I assaulted a police officer. Two Members of Parliament have been identified from this side of the Chair. It is Hon. Gabbuza and I. I was seated there, I will ask Hon. Dr. Mashakada to stand where I was standing and where Hon. Gabbuza was standing – [summoning Hon. Gabbuza to stand up]–
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. You cannot make another Hon. Member to stand up, just explain yourself.
HON. P. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, I was trying to show the distance between where I was standing and where Hon. Gabbuza was standing and the number of other Hon. Members who are on this side and the coincidence that Hon. Gabbuza comes from Binga, he is of the Tonga tribe, so am I. We are the only two Members of the Tonga tribe on this side of the bench. The coincidence that amongst all other Members of Parliament, the Hon. Member of Parliament of the Zezuru tribe was only able to spot two Members of the Tonga tribe, in my view is tribalism and discrimination on tribal and ethnic grounds. I want your clarification Madam Speaker on whether Parliament is treating people on ethnic basis.
Secondly Madam Speaker, when you ruled about the dress code, I want to be educated, in my wardrobe I also have clothes of different colours. May I get the basis upon which certain clothes like the jacket that Hon. Machingauta was putting on, is not allowed in Parliament? Finally Hon. Speaker, I want your clarification on whether, at a time when we are busy campaigning for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, this kind of violence in the august House will do well to the campaign that the nation is doing.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sibanda, there is no need for you to worry about what was said by Hon. Mukwangwariwa because I ruled on that. We are going to check the video from the Television crew – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
HON. P. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, you might not understand my basis. As a Tonga, I believe that we have been marginalised for a long time and now if I can walk into this House as an equal Member of Parliament, I am again suffering marginalisation from a fellow Member of Parliament. I want a ruling Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I cannot give you a ruling on marginalisation. The question says, he saw Hon. Prince Sibanda– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – without even saying where he comes from because members are treated the same despite where they come from but he saw Hon. Prince Mkwangwariwa and not Prince Sibanda.
HON. P.D. SIBANDA spoke in Tonga
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is why I said we are going to wait and see what is going to be screened on the national television. You are not supposed to do that Hon. Member; we have others who are up.
HON. MUKUPE: My point of order, first I will refer you to Standing Order Number 110 subsection (1) which states that “any member who disregards the authority of the Chair or persistently and willfully disrupts the business of the House commits an offence for which he or she may be suspended from the service of the House”.
I will also refer you to Standing Order Number 112 which states that “any member who willfully disobeys any lawful order of the House and any member who willfully or vexatiously interrupts the orderly conduct of business in the House shall be guilty of contempt”. It is pretty clear that the members on your left and in particular, in reference to…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member, I hear you…
HON. MUKUPE: The point I am just bringing out is that clearly, the members on your left are being vexatious and they are willfully interrupting the orderly conduct of the House and the rules are pretty clear. If Hon. Sibanda is going to continue disrupting the orderly conduct of the House, you have to kick him out of the House and we continue with the business of the House and not waste tax payers’ monies.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we please continue with today’s business-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
*HON. ZWIZWAI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. We do not encourage Hon. Members to use their privileges in this House to abuse other members. You have placed it on record that there are Hon. Members who should be investigated on the basis of a word by a single member on your right.
We have lawyers like the Hon.Vice President in this House. We also have Hon. Chamisa and many others. The incident that unfolded in Parliament did not happen to or on a minor. It has happened to a person who is above the age of majority and also a police officer. There must be a complainant in every case. You cannot make a ruling that there will be an investigation when there is no report from the police that there is a complaint. If there is a complaint, he is going to be called as a witness and then the cameras will then show that this is the evidence. You cannot give a ruling for the purposes of the record that some police officers were assaulted just for argument sake. If we fail to find a police officer who says he was assaulted, what are you going to do about it?
On the other hand, we want to put it on record that each and every Parliament – when the Hon Vice President Mnangagwa was Speaker, CCTV cameras were installed here. We should use institutionalised CCTVs and not hire television cameras from BBC, CNN, Studio 7 for Mahoka, ZBC or Aljazera to meddle in Parliament’s business. We do not trust such cameras; they are not owned by Parliament. We cannot use those. We do not own such property and there is no basis for us to use foreign property.
Therefore Madam Speaker, I would want you to leave this issue for a while and deal with it when you get the complaint from the police officer. Furthermore, we would like you to inform us which cameras you are going to be using because we cannot use foreign cameras from CNN to deal with our issues here.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Chair did not say that we are going to investigate. I said we are going to review and ascertain to see if there was a police officer –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Hon. Members, I think we have heard enough on this issue –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, the police officer who came through this other side, when he was approaching Hon. Machingauta inserted his hand in my skirt and touched my private parts. As I am speaking, the young police officer pulled my bimba and my leg. Is that the right of an officer to do that – that a police officer should touch my private parts? I have evidence and if you want, I will come to you Madam Speaker and show you my torn pants, torn by a police officer. Madam Speaker, my pants are torn. What do you say to that?
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: If there is any police officer who put his hand in your pants, you should go ahead and make a report against the officer.
Hon. L. Sibanda approached the Chair and showed her the torn pant –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. MANDIPAKA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank you very much. I want to speak on behalf of the voiceless majority of our people who are out there. What we are doing is not sincere with the tax payers’ money. MDC is deliberately disrupting Parliament business and this has to be recorded that they do not stand in for the people but to cause chaos and this is not good for the country.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity. First and foremost, we are all ladies. The evidence being produced by women, we are now apprehensive. Are we still safe as women? That is food for thought. I rise Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, please let us hear her out.
*HON. MPARIWA: I am surprised that women are now performing. I would want to bring it on record that Hon. Machingauta represents Budiriro as a Member of Parliament. What led to the current issue is that we do not know where exactly he is. We are aware that he has been taken to Harare Central Police Station. On our side, we are disturbed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we have order please? Order!
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Mpariwa is talking.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you once again Madam Speaker. I am saying that because he is a Member of Parliament who represents a constituency in this House; as members of the Opposition and the leaders of that Opposition, we are going to find out his whereabouts and what the truth of the matter is. I thank you.
All MDC-T Members left the Chamber singing ZANU yaora Baba.