Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda yesterday caused a major pandemonium in the House of Assembly after he barred opposition MDC legislators from directing questions at Government ministers, saying they will only do so after they recognise Emmerson Mnangagwa as the Head of State and Government.
The ruling was made after Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Leader of Government business in the House Ziyambi Ziyambi, rose on a point of privilege and sought guidance if it was prudent to allow opposition legislators to ask questions to Government ministers when they had refused to recognise President Mnangagwa, who is the appointing authority.
The ruling by Adv Mudenda followed the MDC MPs’ boycott of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Mnangagwa early this month.
The opposition legislators walked out of the Chamber while Mnangagwa was delivering his speech.
“I hear you Honourable Minister that in terms of the Constitution, Ministers belong to Cabinet and that Cabinet is comprised of the President,” said Adv Mudenda.
“Until we resolve the issue of acceptance by members of the opposition, the request by the Leader of the House stands.”
The ruling by Adv Mudenda resulted in chaotic scenes in the National Assembly as opposition members led by Zengeza West MP Mr Job Sikhala refuted the ruling.
A call by Adv Mudenda for Sikhala to restrain himself was not heeded as the opposition legislator became abusive.
Sikhala rallied his colleagues to rise and resist the directive by Adv Mudenda for him to leave the House as punishment for being unparliamentary.
“I am going to invoke the Constitution for Members who create despondency against lawful order of the Chair,” said Adv Mudenda.
“If this continues I shall not hesitate to name and shame members who shall be punished accordingly.”
Adv Mudenda was responding to Sikhala’s conduct who abruptly took the platform and began to direct abuse at Adv Mudenda as tempers flared in the House.