Row erupts in Parly over Ndebele language

THE National Assembly’s question-and-answer session was yesterday disrupted for about 10 minutes, when MPs from the Matabeleland region expressed anger over Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona’s suggestion that Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni must respond to a question in English instead of Ndebele.


This was after Hurungwe East MP, Sarah Mahoka (Zanu PF) had asked Mguni a question in Shona about why his ministry was continuing to issue children born in Zimbabwe, but of parents of foreign descent, with national identity cards inscribed “alien”.
Mguni proceeded to respond in Ndebele, prompting Chinomona to interrupt.

“This question touches everyone’s constituency, so can you respond in English so that everyone understands?” Chinomona asked.
However, this did not go down well with Matabeleland legislators from across the political divide, who immediately stood in protest, shouting out that Mguni must respond in Ndebele, as it is one of the national languages. Some MPs shouted and refused to accept Chinomona’s explanation that it was meant to ensure everyone understood the response.

Seeing that MPs were angry at her, Chinomona allowed Mguni to respond in the Ndebele language.

“The Home Affairs ministry is looking at the issue of the ‘alien’ status. What we need to do now is to align the Birth and Registration Act with the Constitution, so that the issue is rectified,” he said.

Kwekwe Central MP, Masango Matambanadzo (Zanu PF) said the issue of aliens disenfranchised voters.

“In my constituency, there are more than 21 000 voters, but during elections only 12 000 people can vote because most people in the mining town of Kwekwe are labelled ‘aliens’, as they were born of parents of foreign origin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mguni said there was need to craft a law to criminalise touting at bus ranks, as currently there is no such law.

This was after Musikavanhu MP, Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) asked him to explain the measures his ministry would take to curb touts, who have caused havoc at bus stations, resulting in the death of a person at the Fourth Street rank in Harare this week.

Transport deputy minister Michael Madanha said his ministry was drafting a Bill, which would improve urban transport, and stipulate designated points, where transport operators will be allowed to pick up and drop passengers.

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  1. Ndebele language is recognised in the Constitution and Chinomona ‘s reaction clearly shows how this so called “Honourable” Deputy Speaker is not so Honourable after all.Some actions breed ethnic rivals and she must know better

  2. That’s what Robert did to the country, divide and rule. Why is the question not in English if everyone is meant to understand? The Shona only see wrong when they are affected not when they affect others? It’s just like spelling Ndebele words in Shona and yet not accept it when Shona words are spelt in Ndebele? What exactly is the problem with this ideology?

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