Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday banned singing of revolutionary and other songs in Parliament after MPs engaged in disorderly behaviour in the House.
Zanu PF MPs toyi-toyed in the House when their colleague Mandi Chimene from Makoni started singing a revolutionary song.
This happened just before she contributed to debate on a motion moved by Chegutu MP West Dexter Nduna (Zanu PF) calling on government to stop neglecting liberation war shrines in neighbouring countries.
The singing and toyi-toying by Zanu PF MPs attracted a counter show from MDCs who started singing their own derogatory song “Zanu yawora” (Zanu PF has rotted).
This prompted Mudenda to declare that he was against the behaviour being exhibited by MPs across the political divide.
“In terms of Standing Order Number 77, I wish to say that while it is permissible to sing in the House, the singing should not degenerate into disorderly manner in the House and where there is likelihood of insulting songs,” Mudenda said.
“That is not permissible and so in the future I shall not allow any songs in Parliament.”
Chimene, almost in tears, said her revolutionary song was an introduction to her speech as she had been moved by emotions of what she experienced during the liberation struggle. I am a victim of suffering during the liberation struggle and whenever such issues are being discussed, it pains me a lot,” she said.
“The pain makes me want to sing. Singing used to strengthen us during the war and without those songs we were not going to survive. I do not like to be provoked, Mr Speaker. You can stop us from singing, but you cannot stop our hearts and minds from thinking about the struggle for independence.” Chimene also told the House that when she led the exhumation of graves of freedom fighters, her team managed to rebury 843 bodies and 4 000 still needed to be exhumed for reburial.
Nduna — in his introduction of the motion — said it hurt him that graves of people like Cecil John Rhodes were “magnificent tombs like those of ancient Egyptian kings” while those of Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes in Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and other countries were in a sorry state and unkempt.
“We call upon the Ministry of Home Affairs to lobby for budget allocation for these sites, as well as to visit the forgotten sites and come up with a detailed report of the shrines, indicating the scale of interventions needed to repair them,” Nduna said.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said it was sad that at Freedom Camp in Zambia the fallen heroes were identified by assumed war names, making it difficult for their families to figure out if the mass graves were of their family members.
Another MP Murisi Zvizwai (MDC-T) also said it was a shame that on the list of heroes the names of Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi, Chief Chingaira and Chief Mashayamombe from the First Chimurenga were omitted.