PARLIAMENT Speaker Jacob Mudenda on Tuesday asked legislators to applaud Buhera West lawmaker and comical former war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba for “trying hard to speak in English”.
During debate on the Labour Bill Amendments 2015, Chinotimba surprised many when he fluently read the contents of the bill drawing laughter and applause in equal measure among his colleagues.
“I wanted to say the drafting of this Bill, if you look at Clause 17 concerning statutory benefits on termination of employment, to all employees directly or indirectly,” said Chinotimba, but he was interrupted by gasps of shock, surprise and laughter.
Mudenda was forced to come to Chinotimba’s rescue, calling the House to order.
“Honourable members English is our second language and I think Hon Chinotimba has tried and should be applauded,” said Mudenda to more laughter and applause this time around.
Chinotimba was however, not finished as he went on to confidently put on his reading glasses and quoting from the draft Bill.
“I once said in this House that all the laws should be written in Shona to cater for people in the rural areas. If it is in English people who think they are educated will laugh at us yet they are stealing from us,” he said.
At this point Chinotimba then confidently took out his reading glasses and ploughed on.
“If you look at that clause, the way it has been defined here, if you go to the end of the amendment which reads, ‘Section 12 of this Act applies to every employee whose services were terminated on three months’ notice on or after the 17th July 2015’.
“So what I am saying is that the minister was not aware that employees’ services were terminated in February.
“Like I said earlier, Meikles terminated 500 work permits and judges used the same judgment which was done on 17th July 2015,” said the self-proclaimed commander of farm invasions during the violent land grabs of the last 15 years.
Chinotimba was a Harare City Council security guard before venturing headlong into business and politics.
His poor facility with the English language has always been a subject of memes and jokes on social media.