Opposition Movement for Democratic Change lawmakers, who were assaulted by the police Thursday for allegedly disrespecting President Emmerson Mnangagwa by not standing for him when he walked into the House of Assembly in Harare for Zimbabwe’s 2019 budget presentation, say their actions were justified as they don’t recognize Mnangagwa as a legitimately-elected president.
Some of the legislators, who sustained some injuries in the scuffle, claimed that members of the Central Intelligence Organization beat them up, promising to crash the MDC led by Nelson Chamisa, which has rejected Mnangagwa’s election following disputed polls in July this year. The Constitutional Court ruled that Mnangagwa was the legitimately-elected president after Chamisa filed an appeal for the nullification of the presidential election results.
Mnangagwa won the election with 50.8 percent of the vote -- just enough to meet the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off against Chamisa, who scored 44.3 percent. That percentage was eventually reduced to 50.6 percent by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission before the Constitutional Court hearing.
Thabitha Khumalo, MDC chairperson and leader of the opposition in parliament, says there are no standing rules and regulations compelling Members of Parliament to stand up for the president when he walks into the House of Assembly.
She says apart from that, the legislator and executive are equal and therefore the removal of lawmakers from parliament is illegal.
But Zanu PF’s Believe Gaule, a member of the party’s Central Committee, says MDC parliamentarians should respect the president of Zimbabwe as Emmerson Mnangagwa is the legitimately-elected leader of the southern African nation following what Gaule calls “free, fair and credible” elections in July this year.