The motion on unconstitutional statements by service chiefs generated heated debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, with MDC-T MP for Masvingo Urban, Tongai Matutu, describing one of them, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, as “an idiot”.
Matutu interjected Mhondoro Ngezi MP Bright Matonga, who had stood up to debate on the motion moved last week by Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya regarding utterances by service chiefs that they would not salute anyone lacking liberation war credentials.
When Matonga said: “Brigadier Nyikayaramba,” Matutu immediately interjected adding: “is an idiot.”
This did not go down well with Zanu PF MPs, resulting in Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa demanding Matutu to immediately withdraw his utterances as it was unparliamentary and that Nyikayaramba could not attend Parliament to defend himself.
Matutu subsequently withdrew the statement.
Contributing to the debate, Zaka Central MP Harrison Mudzuri said Nyikayaramba’s statements that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was a security threat should be taken seriously as there could be a plot to eliminate the MDC-T leader and MDC parties.
“Section 115 (2) and (3) of our Constitution says the Executive authority of the inclusive government shall vest and be shared among the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and it means attacking or belittling any of the three is an attack on the two and so when Nyikayaramba says the PM is a security threat, in essence he has said the President is also a security threat,” Mudzuri argued.
“(Greek philosopher) Plato equated soldiers to the role of dogs at home because people keep dogs to protect their property, and if those dogs start to attack the people they are supposed to protect, they say that is a mad dog and that can be said of the service chiefs.”
Mudzuri said Tsvangirai was the third highest in terms of the power hierarchy in the country and could not be rubbished by a mere brigadier who was number 16 in the military hierarchy.
Matonga said Parliament should not debate Nyikayaramba as there were serious issues like electricity shortages to discuss.
He was, however, adjudged out of order by the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, who said if he wished to introduce a motion on matters affecting people, he was free to do so.
Magwegwe MP Felix Magalela Sibanda called upon the service chiefs to apologise and reaffirm their loyalty to Zimbabwe through Parliament.
“They should be sent for re-training at the military academy and those not amenable to training must be cashiered, which means dismissed forthwith or resign gracefully,” Sibanda said.