HomeLocal NewsClerk of Parliament Zvoma faces chop

Clerk of Parliament Zvoma faces chop

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The future of powerful Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma hangs in the balance as MDC-T legislators yesterday bayed for his blood, accusing him of a litany of irregularities while Zanu PF MPs stood firmly behind him.

As soon as Hwange Central MP Brian Tshuma introduced debate on the motion, Zanu PF legislator for Mwenezi East Kudakwashe Bhasikiti raised a point of order with the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, saying the matter was sub judice (before the courts) and, therefore, could not be debated.

However, MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese immediately quashed Bhasikiti’s assertions and said Parliament Standing Order 62 (d) stipulated the House should not debate matters that were sub judice, but the rule did not apply to debate on the ousting of Zvoma as the notice to do so had been given on December 6, 2011 before Zvoma approached the courts for an interdict.

“On December 6 when notice to move this motion was made, there was no matter before the courts,” said Gonese.

Moyo overruled Bhasikiti’s point of order, but Zanu PF MPs then demanded the Speaker to recuse himself from presiding over the matter since he was mentioned in the motion.

Moyo refused, arguing Zanu PF MPs did not seek that route when former Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa presided over the matter of MDC-T member, Roy Bennett, which motion had been moved by Zanu PF MPs.

Charges against Zvoma include that on August 25, 2008 he breached the Constitution and Standing Rules and Order Number 6 which prescribes that elections of presiding officers should be conducted by secret ballot.

“He failed to make proper arrangements that would ensure full compliance with the Standing Rules and Orders and that ineptitude and sheer incompetence was captured by the Supreme Court ruling which also said the Clerk had failed to act as directed by Section 39 of the Constitution and Standing Rules and Order Number 6,” Tshuma said.

Among a myriad of other alleged misdeeds, Zvoma is also accused of failing to notify the House of a vacancy for the Speaker in terms of Standing Rules and Order Number 16 (i) on March 22, 2011, and unilaterally adjourned Parliament through a Press statement.

He is also accused of having “blatantly and arrogantly” defied advice by the Attorney-General Johannes Tomana that even if Moyo had lost his post as Speaker, he was still Matobo MP.

Zvoma is also alleged to have doctored and deleted parts of the Hansard of March 29, 2011 where Finance minister Tendai Biti had contributed raising objections to the manner in which Zvoma was conducting the re-election of the Speaker.

Tshuma said Zvoma must be taken to task about those issues and in terms of constitutional provision 48 (2) be dismissed from Parliament.

The seconder of the motion, Mazowe Central MP Shepherd Mushonga, said in terms of the Constitution, Parliament was the one which had powers to appoint and, therefore, dismiss Zvoma.

Mushonga said Zvoma had taken a political stance and connived with Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere to remove an adverse report on 40-day notices that the minister had given to mining houses, which ruling had been made by the Parliamentary Legal Committee(PLC).

An adverse report means the PLC had found the move unconstitutional.

But, Mushonga also suggested the motion be amended so as to allow for the setting-up of a five-member committee to look into the issue and give Zvoma a chance to defend himself.

“The possible way forward is to terminate the contract of the Clerk of Parliament immediately or demote him for a period without pay or establish a committee to investigate and make recommendations to give him an opportunity to be heard,” said Mushonga.

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