HARARE – The MDC said its legislators were assaulted by police officers on Thursday as they were forcibly removed from Parliament.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda ordered the ejection of the MPs, claiming they had disrespected President Emmerson Mnangagwa b y failing to stand up when the Zanu PF leader walked into Parliament to listen to the 2019 budget presentation by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
The MDC – which says it does not recognise Mnangagwa as President following his disputed election victory in July – says there is no law or parliamentary rule requiring their MPs to stand up.
“It is not required by law or by any rule. Why should people stand up when someone walks into a room?” said MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume.
“What’s more alarming is that they beat up people, they pushed out people. The police, in violation of privilege and parliamentary rules, went into Parliament and pushed out parliamentarians physically, violently, causing injuries.
“He (Mnangagwa) has not changed. He is still an enforcer. A thug. A person who believes violence is supreme. Imagine, a person kicks out whole Members of Parliament simply because they did not stand up for him? Is Parliament a classroom? Is it an assembly? Is he a headmaster?”
Police attack MDC MPs in Parliament – Hon Thabitha Khumalo speaks pic.twitter.com/7ZQEiG3D9u
— MDC Zimbabwe (@mdczimbabwe) November 22, 2018
MPs normally stand up for the President as a courtesy, but there’s no legal requirement for them to do so, the MDC said.
Mudenda, explaining his decision, said the MDC MPs had shown disrespect for Mnangagwa.
“The international community has fully recognised the legitimacy of President Mnangagwa and we do not expect anyone to de-legitimise the Head of State. Administratively, we will taker appropriate action,” Mudenda said.