Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said Harare East legislator Tendai Biti and Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya will not be punished for allegedly making inflammatory statements in the House due to poor audio evidence.
Honourable Biti is alleged to have insulted Umzingwane legislator Levi Mayihlome while Honourable Chikwinya was accused of saying that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga had brought coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country.
However, the two MDC legislators denied the allegations and asked Parliament to check with the Hansard for evidence.
After listening to the audio recordings of the House proceedings on the days, the Speaker said the audio was not clear enough hence Parliament cannot punish the two.
“I have to make the following ruling. It is the ruling on points of order raised by the Honourable Mliswa on 19th February 2020 and the Honourable Mayihlome on 27th February 2020.
“…The Chair has since referred to the Hansard of the days in question, as well as audio recordings of the same in order to ascertain what transpired.
“After listening to the audio recordings, the Chair concluded that in both instances the interjections were inaudible. Consequently, the two Honourable Members will be given the benefit of the doubt.
“However going forward, the Chair strongly warns Honourable Members who are in the habit of molesting or insulting other Honourable Members in the hope that their offensive words will not be picked up by our audio recording machines that they risk heavy penalties being imposed on them for their misdemeanours, in line with the provisions of the Standing Rules and Orders. Please be guided accordingly,” said the Speaker.