Mdc MPs Summoned For Parliament Disciplinary Hearing
15 June 2020
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State Media

Jacob Mudenda

MORE than 100 MDC legislators are set to appear before the Parliament’s Privileges committee this week charged with contempt of Parliament for successive incidents of disrespect for the President.

While 20 Senators have already been served with summons, more than 80 members of the National Assembly from the opposition are set to be served with summons when the House resumes sitting tomorrow.

The 20 Senators were served with summons last week and are set to appear before a Privileges Committee chaired by Mudzi South MP Cde Jonathan Samkange (Zanu PF).

The eight-member committee was constituted by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) to investigate whether or not MDC legislators were in contempt of Parliament when they boycotted sittings attended by the Head of State and Government.

The committee is expected to come up with appropriate recommendations for punishment should they find the opposition legislators guilty of contempt of Parliament.

The decision to form the committee followed successive incidents since 2017 where MDC Alliance legislators would refuse to rise or recognise the presence of the President when he attended Parliament, a breach of Parliament’s customs and practices.

“You are therefore hereby invited to appear personally before the Privileges committee that is investigating allegations of misconduct levelled against you. You were advised of the charges levelled against you and others in our earlier communication dated Wednesday February 12, 2020,” reads the letter written by clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda.

The misconductchargearose when they failed to rise when the President entered or left the Chamber and also when they would boycott his address.

In constituting the committee last year, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said it should establish whether such conduct constituted contempt of Parliament and any other incident that may arise from the investigation.

Last year, Adv Mudenda directed that MDC Alliance legislators lose their sitting allowances for the day when they failed to attend the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by the President.

This come as Parliament has come up with regulations aimed at tightening disciplinary conduct among legislators.

Last week Senate adopted regulations aimed at reigning errant MPs who failed to respect the President, visiting Heads of State and Government, Speaker of the National Assembly and Senate President and Chief Justice whenever they enter or leave the chamber.

According to the measures, legislators face penalties that include suspension for disorderly conduct.

The new measures were adopted by Parliament the SROC, a 26-member top committee that organises Parliament and sets rules. It includes the presiding officers and representatives of the major parties, both Government and opposition.