SASSY MDC-T MPs this week took advantage of President Robert Mugabe’s recall of the national assembly to debate amendments to the country’s labour law to mock the veteran Zanu PF leader whose tenure as regional block Sadc also came to an end.
Mugabe has been Sadc chairperson since August last year when Zimbabwe hosted the regional block’s 34th regional annual summit in Victoria Falls last year.
He handed over the role to Botswana’s Ian Khama this week.
The legislators commended Mugabe for the peaceful handover, in the process, indirectly referring to the 91-year-old’s refusal to consider stepping down at home.
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe for 35 years, from independence in 1980. His Zanu PF party has nominated him as its presidential candidate for the next elections in 2018.
First to poke fun at the veteran leader was Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya during his contribution to the debate on the labour amendment bill.
“I would like to thank our President, Cde R.G. Mugabe for handing over the chairmanship of the Sadc to Khama,” said Chibaya.
He added: “I thought he was going to refuse.”
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda accused Chibaya of making derogatory remarks about the President and asked him to withdraw the statement.
“Order, the final comment made by Hon. Chibaya is derogatory of the Head of State and the Standing Orders are very clear on that one.
“As a long serving Member of Parliament, you are aware that the Chairmanship of Sadc or AU (African Union) is rotational upon expiry of one year, so there is no question there of someone sticking to a position,” said Mudenda.
Undeterred by the Speaker’s injunction, Mabvuku lawmaker James Maridadi, also from the opposition party, lobbed his own jibe Mugabe.
“Lastly, I would like to congratulate the President, for handing over power of Sadc to President Khama,” said the MP.
Mudenda interjected saying, “Hon. Maridadi, are you contradicting the chair’s ruling against Hon. Chibaya”.
To which the MP retorted: “It was a genuine congratulatory message because I saw it on television. I am genuinely congratulating the President.
“The time had come for him to hand over the power on rotational basis and I am congratulating him. As a patriotic Zimbabwean I felt I would congratulate him.”
Mudenda would however, have none of it and demanded a withdrawal of the “congratulations”.
“Hon. Member, the Chair is very much schooled in the language of English,” said the Speaker.
“You are being very sarcastic. In terms of Standing Order Number 93(d), you are trespassing in terms of not respecting the authority of the President.”
“We cannot allow sarcasm in this House. I ask you to apologise,” Mudenda, added, apparently incensed by the remarks.