Douglas Mwonzora who leads opposition MDC-T has apologised to Parliament over the behaviour of 118 MDC MPs adding that they acted under duress from Nelson Chamisa who leads MDC Alliance.
Parliament’s Privileges Committee on the matter, chaired by senior lawyer and Mudzi South MP, Jonathan Samkange (Zanu PF)The MPs had recommended that the 118 MPs in question be fined for violating Parliament rules.
The MPs had boycotted Parliamentary business or walked out whenever President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in attendance arguing that he was not a legitimate president “since he rigged the 2018 presidential election”.
In response to Jonathan Samkange’s recommendations on action to be taken over the MPs behaviour, Mwonzora begged:
Madam President, the members of the MDC you see here were internally subjected to this coercion.
They did not sit on their laurels. They rebelled against that leadership, removed it and placed in a new leadership that has attempted to change the politics of this country.
This new leadership has now said we must get rid of dirty politics. We beg this House, mostly the legislators on the other side, that a good case has been made of the dramatic change of politics in our country.
A good case has been made that maybe it is time to let bygones be bygones. The fines that are proposed are beyond the reach of the MPs. I think it is about $400 000. The taking away of the diplomatic passport is a humiliation which is not necessary.
Members were coerced or forced by a superior authority to them to do what they did. It also found that there had not been any planning involving every Member of Parliament. It found that there was no caucus. Now, where there is a superior authority which makes you do something, there is an automatic defence called obedience to superior authority.
Parliament can investigate charges of contempt and can withdraw privileges, impose fines and suspend guilty members.