DEBATE on President Robert Mugabe’s recent trip to China generated commotion in the National Assembly when opposition MPs questioned Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa if the government managed to salvage positive financial gains from the Asian country.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
While opposition MPs suggested Mugabe came back empty-handed, Zanu PF MPs vociferously defended the trip.
MP for Musikavanhu Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) was the first to ask Chinamasa to explain if he came back with financial support from the Chinese trip.
Chinamasa said what they managed to achieve was serious engagement where the Chinese were going to fund bankable projects in Zimbabwe.
“Let me say that what we have been able to achieve was serious engagement with the Chinese authorities and serious commitment at the highest levels to fund bankable, viable projects that we submitted to them,” Chinamasa responded.
Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda said the House was specifically asking about cash commitments and not projects, saying Chinamasa’s answer implied that he came back empty-handed.
“The education that I want to give to this MP is that no person gives you cash,” Chinamasa replied.
But Sibanda said he did not need further education from the minister as he was already sufficiently educated, causing Zanu PF legislators to interject, resulting in an uproar in the House.
Proportional Representation MP Monica Chigudu (Zanu PF) ended up raising a point of order after the exchange between Chinamasa and Sibanda attracted a lot of noise.
Acting Speaker Melody Dziva ordered MPs in the House to behave as the whole of Zimbabwe was watching the question and answer session and they, Zimbabweans, needed answers to the economic problems bedevilling the country.
Chinamasa said it was regrettable that some MPs were not amenable to continuous education.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi was yesterday asked to explain the religious tourism policy in the country after the recent Jehovah’s Witnesses conference dislodged MPs from their usual hotel bookings.
Makoni South MP Mandi Chimene (Zanu PF) said the Jehovah’s Witnesses and United Methodist Church conferences which were recently held in the country brought tourism, but robbed legislators of their hotel lodgings due to inadequate hotel facilities.
Mzembi said over 80 000 religious tourists were recorded during the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conference.
“I will be in Brooklyn, New York, on government business and will go to the Jehovah’s Witnesses to thank them for choosing our country for their meeting. Parliament should know that around
80 000 visitors, 30 000 who came from overseas, had all hotels fully booked,” Mzembi said.