The MDC would like to express its reservations against the Speaker of Parliament's purported ruling that has the effect of withdrawing Parliamentary privileges from our Members of Parliament.
In particular, the Speaker of Parliament is said to have ordered honourable MPs not to heckle or in any way communicate their discontent with the contents of the President's address to Parliament during the official opening of the third session of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe.
The Speaker's order flies in the face of Parliamentary privileges as enshrined in the Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities Act.
Members of Parliament constitute the legislative arm of the State and one of the key functions of the Legislature is to hold the Executive arm of the State to account by playing an oversight role in a robust and fearless manner.
Therefore, it is wholly improper and uncalled for the Speaker of Parliament to purport to muzzle the freedom of Parliamentarians in the exercise of their oversight role.
The MDC takes this opportunity to state that the State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented in Parliament by President Mugabe three weeks ago was a very mediocre statement that completely failed to tackle key issues such as the security of citizens.
We note , with extreme regret , that the human rights defender, Itai Dzamara, has been missing for more than six months after he was allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents.
However, President Mugabe did not make any reference to Itai Dzamara's abduction in his State of the Nation Address. President Mugabe also failed to proffer any cogent and viable solutions regarding how his government is going to resuscitate the ailing economy as well as ensure that the agricultural sector is revamped in order to prevent the impending starvation of millions of Zimbabwe.
The MDC would also like to express its extreme displeasure with the death threats that were issued to at least seven members of Parliament belonging to our party. This proves that the Executive arm of the State is trying to unconstitutionally interfere with the duties and functions of Members of Parliament. This unconstitutional conduct violates the well - grounded principle of separation of powers.
These death threats are a chilling reminder of the deteriorating security situation in the country and we call upon the Speaker of Parliament to issue a statement strongly condemning the death threats.
Members of Parliament are honourable citizens of the country who should not be subjected to any form of unlawful pressure and/or intimidation in the exercise of their constitutional mandate.
The MDC has since written a letter to the Speaker of Parliament expressing our reservations regarding the death threats that were issued to our Members of Parliament. Because our Members of Parliament are now living in fear of their lives, they are finding it very extremely difficult to remain in Parliament during the official opening of the third session of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe.
We demand that the Speaker of Parliament should provide our MPs with an unconditional written guarantee to the effect that they shall not be harmed whilst they are exercising their duties whether inside or outside Parliament.
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson