Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF National Assembly representative for Buhera South Cde Joseph Chinotimba and MDC-T’s Prince Dubeko Sibanda came close to exchanging blows yesterday after they disagreed during a meeting of a portfolio committee. Quick intervention by the police saved the situation. In the end, Cde Chinotimba branded Mr Sibanda, who represents Binga North and is on US$400 bail on rape allegations, a rapist.
The skirmish occurred while Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo was giving oral evidence to the portfolio committee on the ministry chaired by Mutasa South representative Cde Irene Zindi.
Proceedings were interrupted as the two MPs exchanged harsh words as they angled for each other before police at Parliament Building were called in to restrain the two and take them out.
Tempers flared after Cde Chinotimba raised a point of order that Mr Sibanda was being given written questions by journalists attending the meeting to ask Minister Chombo.
“Madam Chair, the honourable member is getting written questions from journalists yet this is our meeting,” he said.
“It is not fair that members get questions from journalists.”
Mr Sibanda stated that how he asked questions was not Cde Chinotimba’s business.
“Madam Chair, I have been writing notes down since the meeting started and Hon Chinotimba should be concerned about his questions and not mine,” he said.
Kadoma Central representative Cde Fani Phiri then joined in the argument, trying to grab the note Mr Sibanda was holding to prove that he had been given a written question.
In the ensuing exchanges, Cde Chinotimba then shouted: “Ndosaka wakarepa (That’s why you raped).”
This angered Mr Sibanda who repeatedly shouted: “Pfutseki Chinotimba, ndati pfutseki Chinotimba.”
Ignoring entreaties by Cde Zindi for peace, a livid Mr Sibanda continued his insults against Cde Chinotimba.
Cde Zindi eventually ejected the two parliamentarians from the meeting with the aid of the police who escorted them out of the meeting. Mr Sibanda is facing allegations of drugging and raping a 17-year-old girl in November last year in Victoria Falls after he had given her a lift.
He allegedly gave the girl’s father, an MDC-T activist and close friend of the legislator, US$4 000 in an attempt to cover up.
Cde Zindi apologised for the MPs’ conduct at the end of the meeting.
The latest incident comes after a similar case involving Zanu-PF legislators, Masango Matambanadzo (Kwekwe Central) and Gokwe-Kana legislator Owen Ncube who fought two weeks ago at Amaveni Shopping Centre in Kwekwe.