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Zimbabwe Parliament Rumpus Over Defense Budget

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

There was fracas in Parliament on Thursday after ruling Zanu PF legislators branded the opposition a national security threat for objecting to the defense budget.

In his 2015 national budget last month, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated the ministry close to $390 million.

During a budget debate Thursday, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmakers argued the earmark was too much, saying the bulk of it could've been better spent on education and healthcare.

Zanu PF members took umbrage and accused the MDC of being a danger to Zimbabwe’s national security, a charge that sparked a lot of discord from the opposition.

"We are a country at peace, so the defense has no priority in terms of budget allocation," MDC lawmaker Settlement Chikwinya told Studio 7 in a telephone interview.

"The ministry cannot get such a high allocation at the expense of education, at the expense of hospitals and clinics."

MDC MPs from both the Tsvangirai and the Renewal Team formations were united in their opposition.

Another opposition lawmaker Lwazi Sibanda added: "The Speaker made it worse by refusing to call the MP who made the security threat accusation to order."

VOA was unable to reach Zanu PF's parliamentary whip for comment.

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