Riled by National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda’s ruling Wednesday threatening action against lawmakers found to be abusing parliamentary privileges and making unsubstantiated statements in the House, Movement for Democratic Change parliamentarians had planned a boycott Thursday saying the speaker is trying to muzzle them.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said in their view the ruling is designed to intimidate opposition MPs.
Mudenda cited a debate in which Mbizo lawmaker Settlement Chikwinya contributed to debate on the so-called salarygate scandal.
Mudenda said in the process, Chikwinya abused parliamentary privileges by making unsubstantiated statements against former Information Minister Webster Shamu and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority commissioner-general Geshom Pasi.
Mudenda said lawmakers should first have their facts right before using the floor to make unsubstantiated allegations.
Gonese said legislators are protected by the law that says they are not liable to be sued for what happens in parliament, adding this is to ensure they articulate issues without fear.
But Mudenda said that lawmakers have been abusing their parliamentary privileges since the beginning of the eighth parliament hence his ruling.
He said action will be taken against those found to have abused their privileges by for example making unsubstantiated statements against fellow members or member of the public.
Though the MDC lawmakers were expected to boycott Thursday’s sitting, Gonese said they were still studying the ruling.
Comment could not be obtained from Zanu PF chief whip Jorum Gumbo whose mobile phone was not reachable.
But sources say some Zanu PF lawmakers are also not happy with Mudenda’s ruling, maintaining they should be allowed to air their views freely in parliament.