MDC-T MPs yesterday threatened legal action if their Zanu PF counterparts pass the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Debt Assumption Bill without publishing names of the beneficiaries of the farm implements scheme.
by VENERANDA LANGA
The opposition MPs also raised concern with the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda after the Parliamentary Legal Committee chaired by Mudzi South MP Jonathan Samukange (Zanu PF) produced a non-adverse report on the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill. They suspected Samukange “created” the report as a way of gratitude to Zanu PF for re-admitting him into its structures.
A non-adverse report on a Bill means that its provisions are in tandem with the Constitution.
Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) said if the Bill was passed by Zanu PF MPs, the MDC-T would take the matter to court.
“We want it put on order that Samukange today called for the Parliamentary Legal Committee which he chairs to sit and came up with this non-adverse report after being re-admitted into Zanu PF,” Zwizwai said.
“We are going to contest the outcome of this non-adverse report in the courts to ensure that the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill is null and void.”
Earlier, MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese had raised another point of order with Mudenda saying in terms of section 129 (l) of the Constitution the Mudzi South seat was now vacant after Samukange had rejoined Zanu PF when he had won the seat as an independent candidate.
Section 129 1 (l) reads: “The seat of an MP becomes vacant if a member, not having been member of a political party when he or she was elected to Parliament, becomes a member of a political party.”
Gonese said: “Samukange was elected as an independent MP and automatically that seat is vacant by operation of law. The MP has no right to be in this House after he has become a member of a political party.”
Mudenda said he had not yet received written communication from Zanu PF to enable him to declare the seat vacant.
The Committee Reading Stage of the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill was then halted by the MDC-T who demanded that the names of the beneficiaries be published to enable Parliament to force beneficiaries to be precluded from voting for its passage.
Gonese added: “We are objecting to the whole Bill in terms of Privileges and Powers of Parliament Act 17 Chapter 2 (8) which states that any person with a peculiar interest is precluded from voting on a Bill. Anyone who is a beneficiary is not entitled to vote on the Bill unless we are furnished with the information of who benefited.”
But Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said:“If there is an objection, then I will ask for division of the House to vote on the issue.”
Debate was then adjourned to allow the Speaker to make a ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, Mudenda yesterday said the issue of journalists who were ordered to switch off their phones and tablets while recording commotion in the National Assembly during question and answer sessions would be investigated.