Thursday 2 November 2017


PARLIAMENT business nearly ground to a halt yesterday as legislators heckled Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko for giving conflicting signals on who should be leader of the House between Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and newly-appointed Justice minister Happyton Bonyongwe.

Mphoko raised the ire of MPs after he quashed Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona’s claim that Mnangagwa would remain leader of the House as Parliament awaits official communication on the rightful candidate.

“Madam Speaker, the leader of government business right now is me, and then the leader of the House in Parliament is the Minister of Justice,” he said before he turned around to support Chinomona’s position.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) immediately turned the heat on Mphoko, describing him as confused.

“How do we move forward when there are conflicts in the nation? This clearly is a G40 and Lacoste issue. He is saying it is Bonyongwe, then he says a letter will come. We are not in a Zanu PF politburo meeting, we want to know who will be the leader of the House?” Mliswa said, as Mphoko turned around again and declaring Bonyongwe as leader of the House.

Mphoko immediately left before the dust had settled, as his counterpart Mnangagwa walked in.

Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba rekindled the debate, saying: “Mphoko said Bonyongwe is the leader of the House, but why is it that when Mnangagwa entered, he immediately went out? Are the two Vice-Presidents together.”

Chinomona said Mphoko had left 10 minutes before Mnangagwa came in and his leaving was not because of his counterpart’s entrance into the House.

MPs then turned to Bonyongwe, grilling him over their outstanding allowances. The Justice minister indicated that he would consult his Cabinet colleagues and provide feedback at the next seating.

Harare South MP Shadreck Mashayamombe (Zanu PF) then unwittingly threw himself into the firing line after he pleaded with fellow MPs to stop embarrassing the ministers.

This did not go down well with Mliswa, who stood up and labelled Mashayamombe a land baron, sparking another fierce verbal fight which nearly degenerated into a fistfight. The two MPs were later ushered out of the House.

Seeing that there was chaos in the House, Bonyongwe ordered the House to adjourn before the question and answer session took place. newsday


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