Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
MDC-Alliance legislators must be charged with contempt of court for their failure to respect President Mnangagwa during Parliamentary proceedings after the Constitutional Court ruled that he was duly elected as Head of State and Government, Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said.
He said the MDC-Alliance lawmakers were also in violation of the Constitution which they swore to uphold as Members of Parliament.
Advocate Mudenda said this in his affidavit filed at the High Court where he was defending his decision to dock five months sitting allowances for opposition lawmakers for constantly walking out each time President Mnangagwa comes to Parliament.
The legislators have approached the High Court challenging Adv Mudenda’s ruling directing that they forfeit five months allowances.
“The applicants must be charged with contempt of court , in particular the highest court of the land, the Constitutional Court. Their walking out on the President and refusal to rise in respect of the President is contemptuous not only of the Office of the President, but also the Constitutional Court which ruled that the President was duly elected,” said Adv Mudenda in his court papers.
This followed a ruling by the Constitutional Court which dismissed an election petition filed by MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa challenging the 2018 harmonised election result won by President Mnangagwa.
Adv Mudenda said there was need for the opposition lawmakers to uphold the law.
“The applicants are in violation of the provisions of the Constitution and the oath of office they took before assumption of office as Members of Parliament. In terms of the Constitution, Members of Parliament are required to take the oath of an MP before he or she sits in Parliament. The need to agree under oath, to uphold the Constitution is an unequivocal requirement to holding public office as a Member of Parliament. In simple terms, if you uphold something such as the law, a principle, or a decision you must support and uphold it,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said the opposition legislators remained seated when they should have stood up and walked out when they should have remained in the Chamber in utter contempt of the Head of State.
“The applicants are aware of the procedures that need to be followed in regard to demonstrations and the House was not such a platform,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said at one point the MDC Alliance sent some emissaries led by Ms Tabitha Khumalo, Mr Prosper Mutseyami, Mr Amos Chibaya and Ms Lilian Timveous to apologise for their conduct.
Adv Mudenda said he acted within his powers in terms of Standing Rules and Orders when he stopped payment of their allowances.
“I invoked the provisions of Standing Order 206 in my capacity as the only authority who could do so in the circumstances. The Members of the MDC-Alliance tested my patience beyond reasonable measure and yet I had previously let their actions slide without any immediate censure,” he said.