BY VENERANDA LANGA
TEMPERS flared in the National Assembly yesterday when Zanu PF MPs refused to observe a minute of silence in honour of the late national hero and opposition Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa.
This followed a request by MDC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami, who pointed out that the House must, as was the norm, observe a minute of silence in honour of fallen heroes, in this case Dabengwa.
Opposition and independent MPs stood up to observe the minute of silence, but Zanu PF legislators remained seated.
Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) said: “You recall that the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda last week ruled that we cannot observe a minute of silence for the late Zapu leader Dabengwa until the party Zanu PF made a resolution and until his family has made a statement.
“Those two issues were done — and I say we must observe a minute of silence because my father was Zapu and we grew up with him (Dabengwa) together with Senator Simon Khaya Moyo and Ambrose Mutinhiri. Dabengwa was a war veteran and a former MP and we must give him that respect. Zanu PF is refusing to do so on tribal card and you are putting President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a difficult situation.”
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi refused to allow the MPs observe a minute of silence, claiming Dabengwa was no longer an MP.
But opposition MPs protested, saying when the late music icon Oliver Mtukudzi passed on, all MPs observed a minute of silence.
Some Zanu PF MPs could be heard interjecting and shouting that Dabengwa was a sellout.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF MPs dismissed the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) report on the 2018 elections which was tabled before Parliament last week by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, describing it as biased in favour of the opposition.
Muzarabani MP Zemu Soda (Zanu PF) said the ZHRC report failed to criticise MDC vice-president Tendai Biti for prematurely announcing the 2018 presidential election results.
But Pelandaba Mpopoma MP Charles Moyo (MDC Alliance) said the ZHRC report was very clear in condemning electoral violence, hate speech and military involvement in elections.