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Legislators nearly exchanged blows in Parliament

By Wisdom Mumera

Efforts by the Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee to hear oral evidence on the mining of gold and chrome in the country from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) went up in smoke as legislators started attacking each other.

The fracas in the committee began after Chiredzi North legislator Royi Bhilah (Zanu PF) proposed that Norton legislator Temba Mliswa, Leonard Chikomba (Gokwe-Kabuyuni), Anele Ndebele (Magwegwe) and Prince Dubeko-Sibanda (Binga North) accused of soliciting for bribes recuse themselves from the proceeding until cleared.

The legislators are said to have asked for a $400000 bribe a local businessman to facilitate contracts from Hwange Colliery Company.

Honourable Bhilah said recuse will help maintain the dignity of legislators and that of the Parliament.

However, Mliswa took exception to the idea and accused the legislator of pushing ulterior motives since the issue had already been dealt with during the committee’s private caucus meeting.

Mliswa said he had voluntarily stepped down as a sign of personal integrity to pave way for smooth investigations and not as a personal indictment.

The situation then degenerated into personal attacks with Mliswa accusing Bhilah of overstepping regulations and skipping his HIV medications.

He also accused Chegutu West legislator Dexter Nduna of stealing $11million from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA).

“You are a thief, return the money you stole from ZINARA,” he said.

An irate Nduna threatened to deal with Mliswa outside of Parliament and confessed to having killed many other people whom he does not even know.

“It’s the last time I’m saying this. I’m going to deal with you outside Parliament. Anyone that dispute it does not know me,” said Nduna.

Mliswa retaliated by saying he would, “I will castrate you Nduna”.

ZMDC officials and journalists were asked to go outside as the situation degenerated into chaos.

Commenting on the events Mliswa said Parliament was fast losing its credibility due to the uneven application of regulations resulting in some corrupt Zanu PF legislators being appointed to chair committees.

“This institution is fast losing its credibility to the nation. It might as well be the Zanu PF Parliament of Zimbabwe. My recusing myself is really out of my own integrity, out of my own conscience realizing the institution of Parliament is bigger than anybody else,” he said.

In a brief comment, the acting committee chairperson said, “There was tension in the room” thus he had asked the ZMDC officials to go back until further notice.

The oral evidence hearing has since been postponed to next week.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He writes for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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