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Mliswa, Nduna apologise, as Parliament dissolves Mines Committee

By Daniel Chigundu

Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has dissolved the Mines and Mining Development Committee following irreconcilable differences among members especially Honourable Temba Mliswa and Honourable Dexter Nduna.

The two legislators were involved in a heated argument where they ended up exchanging harsh words and threats in full view of the journalists.

Reading the announcement to legislators in the National Assembly, Speaker Jacob Mudenda said a new committee will be announced in due course.

“I have to inform the House that at its extraordinary meeting held on the 13th of February the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders acting in terms of Standing Order 17 of the National Assembly read in conjunction with Section 151 of the constitution resolved to dissolve the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development and a new committee will be reconstituted in due course,” he said.

It, however, remains to be seen who will make it to the reconstituted committee and who will be the chairperson as this is a Zanu PF seat that Mliswa had been appointed to occupy.

Meanwhile, Honourable Mliswa and Honourable Nduna have both apologised for their disorderly conduct and below is what they said in the National Assembly.

HON. Temba MLISWA: A very good afternoon to you Mr Speaker Sir.  I felt that I should prepare a statement for this so that I do not lose my train of thought.  Today being the 5th March my reference is Statement of apology to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda.  The statement begins:

Mr Speaker, Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Hon Members of Parliament here present.  During a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Meeting on Mines and Mining Development in the Senate Chamber on Monday 11th February 2019, an incident erupted between Hon. Dexter Nduna and me.  During the debacle, I inadvertently included the name of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda in the furore, mistakenly linking him with the nefarious actions attributed to Hon. Nduna.  The erroneous accusation was premised on misinformation emanating from Hon. Nduna who fabricated a false association with the Hon. Speaker in an attempt to shield and seek protection from the underhand dealings he was associated with to make them appear above board.

It was unfortunate that the exchange with Hon. Nduna and myself occurred at a time that I was personally labouring with extreme sentiments of dissatisfaction and frustration with the Mines Committee.  The alleged corruption cases, politicisation of the Committee, the seeming neglect to resolve matters as raised and recommended as well as interference from those members co-opted to protect self-interest cultivated extreme feelings of dejection which unfortunately caused me to lash out.  I subsequently warn all my esteemed colleagues who use the names of those in higher offices to hide behind or as some form of protection to immediately desist from the practice, the name of the Speaker must not be held in disrepute. I therefore sincerely apologise to the Hon. Speaker, Advocate Jacob Mudenda for the attack on his person and credibility and regret the outburst thereof.

Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda is a person that I hold in high regard and have a great sense of esteem for the dogmatic, professional and ethical manner in which he executes his duties, which affectionately earned him the nickname, “the headmaster”.  So great is the respect and confidence I have for his professionalism and efficiency that I seconded Hon. Mudenda as Speaker of the National Assembly for the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe, a vote of confidence that I do not take lightly.  I look up to Hon. Mudenda as a father figure and as a son; I bow down my head for forgiveness for my transgression.

Mr Speaker Sir, I appeal to you to address matters brought to your attention to avoid those involved from the perception that they are untouchable or are afforded any protection by you.  A matter in point, as an example, is the issue brought up by Hon Lynette Karenyi who spoke out against the alleged abuse of women by Hon. Members, Paradza and Zhou which to date remains pending.  These are the very same Hon. Members who continue to cause havoc in Parliamentary Committees, as I indicated in my quarterly report.  They are the very same Hon. Members who are yet to engage in meaningful debate in Parliament and at best are recorded in the Hansard for their heckling which leaves a lot to be desired.

The Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe will cause a challenge for you Mr Speaker Sir if Hon. Members of Parliament cannot maintain the decorum and integrity of the august House.  The important role of scrutiny and oversight cannot continue to be trivialised by those serving selfish interests, we are here to serve the national interest.

However, whilst I apologise for Hon. Mudenda’s inclusion, I do not take back my words regarding the fight against corruption.  My stance against those involved remains consistent and I will ensure that I re-double my efforts to see that justice is served and that the double and triple thieves are brought to book.  As a nation, we will struggle to implement any meaningful policies to move the country forward if we do not tackle and remove the disease of corruption from our society.  Corruption is cancer that will thwart any attempts at economic resuscitation from thriving, and it is with that in mind that I continue to advocate for the panacea of Zero Tolerance to Corruption.  Statement ends.

HON. Dexter NDUNA:  I stand on a matter of privilege Mr Speaker Sir, Section 68 of the Standing Rules and Orders, as read with Section 86 of the Constitution if you indulge me, Mr Speaker Sir.  I will make reference to some notes on my phone; otherwise, it is premised on an incident that occurred on 11th February 2019, in the Mines and Minerals Committee where an altercation occurred between myself and my brother Hon. Mliswa.  Mr Speaker Sir, when you are in a fight there is no formula, you use a hoe, a pick, a shovel, a wheelbarrow or anything that is at your disposal.  Notwithstanding, I want to profusely apologise for the words that I uttered.  I did not mean anything that I said to Hon. Mliswa and I take back my words.  I want to be treated in the same way that I am presenting this apology so that the decorum of Parliament can be upheld.

My statement goes as follows:- I make reference to the unfortunate and regrettable incident that occurred during the meeting of the Portfolio Committee of Mines and Minerals Development on Monday, 11th February 2019.

Mr Speaker Sir, I stand here to tender my unreserved apology to you, Hon. Speaker Sir as the head of Parliament and Chairperson of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders and also to all members of your Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, the institution of Parliament and to my party, Zanu PF.

On my part, the fracas which had the unintended effect of undermining the integrity of Parliament as a whole, I make no excuse for the dishonourable behaviour I displayed on the day in question and the unpalatable utterances that I made in the heat of the moment, save to say that I unconditionally apologise for my behaviour.

On hindsight, it is clear to me that I could have reacted differently even in the face of brazen provocation which had the effect of maligning my character and reputation.  I could have chosen a more dignified response to the aspersions cast on my character and standing that would ultimately protect my reputation, the name of my party Zanu PF and integrity of the institution of Parliament.  As it is, as I conclude, I am fully aware that my behaviour was injurious not only to my person but also to my party Zanu PF and Parliament as a whole.  The behaviour that I displayed on the day in question is not in tandem with the sacred title of ‘Honourable’ that I carry and flies in the face of the people who elected me into office.

Pursuant to this, I have since issued a public apology on the matter and I intend Mr Speaker Sir, as I am showing right now, to sincerely show contrition and regret by apologising to members of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development and to members of this august House.

Mr Speaker Sir, please unreservedly accept my apology over my part in the matter.  I have also sincerely tendered my apology to His Excellency the President Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa in person on the same matter.

Mr Speaker Sir, your forgiveness is highly sought after my humble submission.  I thank you.

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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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