Zimbabwe opposition lawmakers walk out of Mnangagwa address

Africa

According to a Reuters news report, Zimbabwean opposition lawmakers walked out of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s the nation address to parliament on Tuesday. This act was done to signify their  persistent bitterness after losing a disputed July 30 presidential and parliamentary election

Just as Mnangagwa started reading his speech during the opening of parliament on Tuesday, he was interrupted by Members of Parliament from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Nelson Chamisa. Nelson Chamisa who is not a member of parliament and lost a court challenge to Mnangagwa’s win in August, 2018 claims that he was the rightful winner of the elections. He maintains that electoral malfunction was at play in the elections and that is why Mnangagwa was declared the winner.

After leaving parliament, the MDC lawmakers broke into song denouncing the ruling ZANU-PF party. “As the MDC we cannot sit there and be addressed by a person who does not even respect the rule of law,” MDC national chairperson Tabitha Khumalo told Reuters.

ZANU-PF’s chief whip in parliament Pupurai Togarepi described the lawmakers’ conduct as unfortunate, adding: “We hope that over time they will come to their senses, it’s not about grandstanding but building the country together.”

Mnangagwa, who has called for unity in the past among political parties to help rebuild the shattered economy, said the elections were now in the past.

“The election period is decisively behind us. It is now time for us as members of parliament and political leaders to exert our efforts towards delivering promises we made to the electorate,” Mnangagwa said in his speech.

A promise of  bringing about a series of bills to parliament, including on giving more power to Zimbabwe’s 10 regions, revamping the process of registering companies and creating a one-stop investment agency was made by the president. A mining amendment bill passed by parliament in June, which removed clauses requiring foreign mines to list their shares on the local stock market, would be brought back to the assembly to fix “inadequacies” and provide for online registration of mining rights and titles.

Mnangagwa was instated to power in November after Robert Mugabe was removed in a coup. He now faces the huge task of ending Zimbabwe’s international pariah status and fixing an economy afflicted by high unemployment and foreign currency shortages. He told lawmakers that his government had negotiated $500 million in foreign credit facilities, some of which would be disbursed to companies this week.

Mnangagwa, however, said the country would not immediately re-introduce its own currency that was dumped in 2009 after it was made worthless by hyperinflation of 500 billion percent.

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