HomeNewsChinamasa apologises for ‘mischief’

Chinamasa apologises for ‘mischief’

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FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday apologised to the National Assembly for breaching Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders and the Constitution when he attempted to smuggle in a supplementary budget as part of his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Statement announced last week.

VENERANDA LANGA

But his apology was not taken kindly by opposition MDC-T legislators who kept lampooning him for over 30 minutes, saying as a veteran lawyer and Finance minister, Chinamasa should have foreseen that he was committing a legal boob.

After tendering his apologies, Chinamasa sat forlornly as opposition MPs tore into his political career with some labelling him “incompetent” and “mediocre”.

“Mr Speaker, I would like to offer my apologies to this august House for the oversight which led to violation of Parliament Standing Rules and Orders and the Constitution, and in order to regularise the omission, I am requesting the august House to condone the oversight,” Chinamasa said.

“I am therefore seeking the leave of the House to move that the Mid-Term Budget Review Statement I presented on September 11 be deemed to have been made upon a motion seeking leave of the House to introduce a Bill to make for further provision and public funds of Zimbabwe and matters relating, and incidental thereto as required by Section 305 (5) of the Constitution.

“And that the debate that was to ensue from the motion be treated as debate on the leave to introduce a Finance Bill,” he said.

Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) immediately raised a point of order, saying Chinamasa should not have tried to smuggle the Bill because he was well acquainted with legal procedures.

“Minister Chinamasa is a lawyer, he is a Minister of Finance who should know what the law requires in terms of bringing in a supplementary budget, instead of trying to come through the back door,” Chamisa said.

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda had to come to Chinamasa’s rescue, pleading with the opposition legislators to allow the Zanu PF minister to be granted permission to rectify the problem.

“The minister has sought leave to rectify his mischief and the debate now should be on the motion as presented.  We cannot start to denigrate the character and qualifications of the minister,” Mudenda said.

But MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese would not relent when he raised  another point of order, saying Chinamasa should not take Parliament for granted and should engage the opposition.

“It should not be taken for granted that the House will agree to the minister’s proposals.  It is important for the minister to approach members of the opposition.  We have a leader of the opposition and a chief whip and I believe the minister should have engaged them to inform them of what he was seeking to do so that the opposition also takes an appropriate stance.  Chinamasa should not expect us to rubber-stamp things – it is taking matters too far.  We should respect each other and consult for the good of the nation.  In the manner which the minister proceeded, it puts us in a very invidious position and we are inclined not to accede to his request,” Gonese said.

Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) added:  “The people of Zimbabwe are tired of mediocrity and incompetence and we cannot allow a minister to come and display mediocrity and incompetence and then later come to seek leave of this House.”

Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo also stood up to defend Chinamasa, arguing to err was human and that Chinamasa had already apologised.

The House later degenerated into chaos when Makoni South MP Mandi Chimene (Zanu [PF) stood up to defend Chinamasa, saying when he brought the policy review statement, the MDC-T MPs did not raise any point of order.

This prompted Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) to interject, saying Chimene had been drinking at the bar, resulting in Chimene labelling Zwizwai “a hooligan”.

The two were asked to withdraw their unparliamentary statements, which they did.

Chinamasa’s motion to seek leave of the House to bring in the Bill was later approved.

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