THERE was chaos in the National Assembly yesterday with legislators nearly coming to blows over opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s calling out of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for accepting US$40 000 loans offered by government.
Last week, Chamisa issued a muted condemnation of the loans and urged his MPs not to take them, saying it was tantamount to looting public resources. Government ministers were each offered US$500 000, deputy ministers US$350 000 and MPs US$40 000 as loans, leading to heated debate and divided public opinion.
During the National Assembly sitting yesterday, Mliswa raised a matter o.f national interest on the welfare of legislators, saying MPs in Zimbabwe were the least paid in the region.
He then launched an attack on Chamisa, which irked CCC legislators.
“I would also want leaders of other political parties, especially Advocate Chamisa, to really understand – him being a lawyer – that MPs have a contract with Parliament; not with the party when they are here. I don’t know why he gets involved,” Mliswa said.
“He must not whip them (MPs) on contractual issues. He was once an MP. I expected him to stand for other MPs because he knows how we have suffered. We don’t want such hypocrisy from any leader. Let him deal with putting out his structures at CCC while here in Parliament, we get our money,” he added.
Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance legislators cheered Mliswa, but CCC MPs were not impressed.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya then raised a point of order and accused Mliswa of denigrating Chamisa.
“He cannot respond for himself as he (Chamisa) does not sit in this Parliament,” Chikwinya said.
As Chikwinya spoke, Mliswa, supported by Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance MPs, fiercely interjected. The situation became very tense with fingers being pointed at each other. Some MPs jumped over seats to get to Chikwinya and threaten him.
The Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance MPs said Chikwinya should return the money if he was in support of Chamisa’s point of view.
The heated argument halted Parliament business for about 15 minutes.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi struggled to bring the House to order.
Later, Gezi criticised the behaviour of MPs saying: “Hunhu hwenyu ndewemubhawa (you are behaving like drunkards).”