ZANU PF succession politics issues spilled into Parliament yesterday with Warren Park MP Elias Mudzuri (MDC-T) raising the issue of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s recent utterances at a rally in Chiweshe, saying it now appears she was ruling the country.
Mudzuri raised the issue as a point of order, with the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda during the question-and-answer session.
“My point of order is that as Parliament we have noticed that of late there have been utterances of speeches, which tend to suggest that the First Lady is now ruling the country, and it is always written in papers that she is ruling, and also that she can (dis)appoint ministers,” he said.
“As Parliament, we have a responsibility of checking on the Executive to ensure the President plays his role without interference and disharmony. The people of Zimbabwe are confused as to who is running the country.”
Mudenda quashed discussion of the issue, saying Parliament had no business debating political statements made at rallies.
“It is common cause, we still have one President in Zimbabwe. What happens at rallies of this party or that has nothing to do with Parliament,” he said.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T), however, brought back the issue, saying it was pertinent for Zimbabweans to know what was happening, but Mudenda dismissed his point.
Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele (MDC-T) then demanded to know who between the two Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko was likely to succeed Mugabe.
In response, Mnangagwa said: “There is a great possibility that there are more people of this category in terms of misunderstanding the provisions of the Constitution. If you go to the special provisions under Schedule 6 Section 14, it refers to suspension of the provisions of the Constitution, which will apply 10 years from now.
“If the person elected President dies or resigns, or is removed from office, where there are two VPs, the VP who was last nominated to act, will act as President until a new President assumes office.”
Mnangagwa said the vacancy of Vice-President must then be filled by a nominee of the political party which the President stood for when he went for elections.
“In this case it is Zanu PF,” Mnangagwa said, attracting interjections from the opposition MPs who shouted, “Which faction? G40 or Lacoste?”
In another matter on questions with notice, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was asked by Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross (MDC-T) to explain whether the recent tours to provinces by the First Lady were catered for by the State.
Chinamasa said he needed time to research on the issue before giving comments to the House.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made was also asked by Mutoko East MP Ricky Mawere (Zanu PF)to explain why his ministry was not taking action on the Grain Marketing Board workers camped at the institution’s headquarters demanding their salaries.
“They have been camped there for the past 10 days, but there is no response from management. Some are breastfeeding women,” Mawere said.
Made said they were looking at the issue, but he failed to give a date when it would be resolved, preferring to say it was difficult to be specific on when, as the issue involved payment.
Mnangagwa had to intervene after MPs complained that government was not acting seriously on the issue.
“I think it is necessary for government to react to the plight of the people. Everything possible will now be done to attend to their plight,” Mnangagwa said.