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MDC MPs take Mudenda to High Court over allowances

The speaker of Parliament said he held meetings with the chief whips of MDC and Zanu PF to explain to them his ruling.

MDC legislators will launch a legal battle in the High Court against the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, after their allowances were garnished when they walked out on President Emmerson Mnangagwa during last month’s State of the Nation address.

MDC vice president Tendai Biti said his party was preparing to challenge Mudenda’s ruling to withhold their sitting allowances.

MPs receive ZWL$700 per sitting and Parliament has since docked the allowances ranging from ZWL$9,000 to ZWL$15,000.

“We are in the process of preparing to file court papers against the ruling by Mudenda to take our allowances as he had no legal basis to do so,” Biti said. “We are going to challenge many of the Speaker’s rulings against us in Parliament which are political and have no legal sense at all.”

Mudenda said he had held meetings with the chief whips of MDC and Zanu-PF to explain to them his ruling so they could brief their members.

“I have referred the matter to the MDC chief whip to explain to his party members about my rulings and if the members have failed to understand, they are free to approach my office and I can explain to them,” the Speaker said.

“The rulings are legally sound as we follow the constitution and the law, we are ready to defend the rulings in a court of law,” he added.

Last week, MDC MPs attended the pre-budget workshop in Victoria Falls and received allowances. But Zanu PF legislators want the allowances to be withheld since the MDC MPs refused to recognise President Mnangagwa.

The MDC MPs have also been battling with the Speaker’s ruling that the MDC legislators had no right to ask questions in Parliament to cabinet ministers until the party’s lawmakers recognise Mnangagwa as the legitimate leader of the country.

The ruling has far-reaching consequences as it renders the MDC legislators politically irrelevant. They will only come to Parliament to warm up the benches.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, moved the motion in Parliament, arguing that the MDC had no right to question ministers appointed by Mnangagwa whom refuse to recognise as the legitimate leader of the country.

Mudenda delivered a ruling in support of the motion. Since the start of the ninth Parliamentary session, MDC legislators have been walking out every time President Mnangagwa attends the house in protest over his legitimacy. Business Times

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