Language Debacle Hits Parly Again, MP Blocked From Speaking Tonga
7 March 2018
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Zimbabwe Parliament in session. No translation devices on site.

By Paul Nyathi

Problems around the issue of languages exhibited its ugly head yet again in the National Assembly when Hwange Central Member of Parliament Brian Chuma was asked not to ask a question in Tonga during a question and answer session of the august house.

Chuma was directing his question to the leader of Government business in parliament Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi before the Deputy Speaker Honourable Mabel Chinomona blocked him.

Chinomona told the parliamentarian that parliament and the Minister were not understanding his language inviting him to change the language.

“Honourable member I implore that you change your language as most of us including the Minister do not understand the language you are using,” said Chinomona.

Honourable Chuma however refused to change his language imploring parliament to seek translators for all the country’s official languages.

“You go to the courts you find translators for all languages but here in parliament you want to force us to change languages, that is wrong,” said Chuma in his vernacular Tonga.

The situation was rescued when Chuma asked Binga South Member of Parliament Joel Gabuza to translate to the Minister.

This is not the first time that parliament has clashed over the use of alternative languages in the house.

In recent days, Umguza Member of Parliament Obert Mpofu refused to be moved not to speak in Ndebele in parliament for the same reasons.