PRESSIDENT Robert Mugabe stayed away from Parliament Wednesday despite having convened the legislature to “conduct special business” in the wake of a gaffe that saw him read an old speech early this week.

Mugabe instead sent Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa with the right speech but legislators demanded an investigation as well as an apology over the debacle.

Instead of reading a speech that was supposed to set the agenda for the legislature in the 3rd session of the Eight Parliament, the veteran ruler ended up re-reading his State of the Nation Address which he presented to the House at the end of August.

Government apologised for the blunder late Tuesday and indicated that “corrective measures would be considered”.

Kennedy Chokuda, the Clerk of Parliament, then announced through state radio that Mugabe had called Parliament that had adjourned until 26th September to reconvene.
What to do? … Zanu PF’s Joram Gumbo, Speaker Jacob Mudenda and MDC-T’s Gonese

When business resumed MDC-T chief Whip, Innocent Gonese, approached Speaker Jacob Mudenda to discuss the issue but was drowned by lawmakers who demanded an explanation as to what had happened.

Opposition MDC-T leader of the House, Thokozani Khupe demanded an apology which was duly offered by Mnangagwa who said “government regretted what happened and we are interrogating the issue”.

Mnangagwa then moved that the wrong speech be withdrawn and replaced by the correct one arguing it is the duty of the Executive to investigate and punish offenders.

He said a mistake had been made and government was investigating the issue.

Mudenda concurred and ruled in Mnangagwa’s favour and the “wrong” and offending text was withdrawn.

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