Takudzwa Charmaine Chikakayi
Legislators in Zimbabwe are obliged to adhere to a high standard of conduct during parliamentary sessions, guided by a set of written directives known as Standing Orders and Rules. These regulate the conduct of proceedings in the House, including the passage of bills, rules of debate, the maintenance of order, appointment of committees and other issues affecting the smooth flow of proceedings in the house.
If an MP violates these rules, the Speaker has volition to take action and restore order to the House, even if it means chucking them out. This has led to a sizable number of independent and opposition legislators being ejected from parliament.
However, there are disconcerting patterns which have raised concern, over the Speaker’s use of ejection as a way of silencing outspoken members in the house.
Below is a compilation of some instances in which Norton MP, Hon Temba Mliswa, one of the most ejected legislators in the 9th parliament which began in 2018, has been controversially chucked out of the house on several occasions after raising issues of concern:
The Gukurahundi mention
On 30 May 2023, Norton Legislator Temba Mliswa was ejected from Parliament after accusing ZANU PF of killing thousands of people in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces in the 1980’s Gukurahundi atrocities.
Mliswa was debating the patriotic bill which human rights defenders have warned will dangerously threaten freedom of speech in Zimbabwe if passed into law.
Mliswa said there must be a commission of inquiry to deal with ZANU PF people who led the killings.
He further vehemently exclaimed that the only thing ZANU PF is known for is massacre.
Acting speaker, Tatenda Matevera ordered that Mliswa be removed from parliament over the use of offensive language against ZANU PF.
The Nduna murder probe
On 13 February 2019, Mliswa was dragged out of parliament, following altercations with deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi whom he accused of siding with Zanu PF Chegutu West legislator Dexter Nduna.
This was after the politician had stood to demand investigations to be instituted by parliament against Zanu PF MP for Chegutu West, Dexter Nduna over alleged death confessions and threats which he had incited towards the former during a mines committee meeting, vowing that he would not struggle killing him as he (Nduna) had taken many lives. Mliswa, on his part, had called Nduna, a “triple thief.”
In that same incident, Mliswa went on to accuse Nduna of causing the disappearance of journalist and activist, Itayi Dzamara.
Gezi ordered for his ejection and he was escorted out by the Serjeant-at Arms while continuing his monologue.
The Rusununguko allegations
The independent legislator was on 17 August 2022 kicked out of parliament for attacking Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri after he demanded an explanation on an army company, called Rusununguko Nkululeko Holdings, which he said was being used to steal resources of the country by ZANU PF politburo members.
He ranted that the company which was the brainchild of the late Minister of Foreign Affairs Sibusiso Moyo to tackle economic problems of the military, was plundering state resources without accounting for them.
Mliswa was quoted as saying, “Rusununguko icompaany yevakuru iri kubira masoja mari,” as he was escorted out of the chamber by the Sergeant-at Arm, as per the Speaker’s order.