Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has told legislators to farmiliarise themselves with what the constitution says about the delimitation exercise and should not listen to George Charamba, Nick Mangwana, newspapers, and social media.
Mudenda’s sentiments follow confusion that was caused by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information Nick Mangwana and Deputy Secretary to the President and Cabinet George Charamba on Twitter.
Mangwana and Charamba clashed on Twitter by giving conflicting statements with regard to the report that was given to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The other said the document that was presented to the President was the final document, while the other said it was a response to concerns raised by the President.
This saw Glen Norah legislator Wellington Chikombo raising the issues during a question and answer session in the National Assembly.
Below is the full text of the conversation:
HON. CHIKOMBA: My matter of national importance is to do with the meeting that took place on 2nd February between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and His Excellency the President pertaining to the submission of the final report. This is in line with Section 239 and Section 161 of the Constitution.
THE HON. SPEAKER: In line with what?
HON. CHIKOMBO: Section 239 which gives mandate to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on delimitation and Section 161. My issue is that post that meeting, we had varied statements that were uttered by Government functionaries which includes Mr. Mangwana and Mr. George Charamba claiming that the report that was given to the President is not final. Those statements that were uttered have caused a lot of polarization, disharmony and anxiety across the country. I would want the Justice Minister to come through to elaborate to the House what the correct position is pertaining to that.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much for what you said but musateerere nyaya yemuma newspaper kana social media. Dai makabvunza nezuro kuna Acting Leader of Government Business kuti muwane tsananguro yakanaka. Do not go by newspaper reports or social media reports.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order? Are you clarifying my ruling?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am seeking clarification on your ruling – on whether to rely on media, social media or something of that sort.
THE HON. SPEAKER: So you want to seek clarification on my ruling?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Indeed, Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is not allowed Hon. Member – [AN HON. MEMBER: He is challenging.] –
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am not challenging you Hon. Speaker, I just want to be…
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, let me help you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Help me Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Section 161 is very clear in terms of the processes. The report is tabled here in the House in Parliament, we scrutinize it and make our observations. We then submit to the Head of State and Government in terms of Section 161. Within the specified 14 days, the Head of State must submit to ZEC, which was done. After that ZEC will start on whatever contributions or analysis that were done by the relevant stakeholders. They will look at them, make adjustment where it is possible and send those adjustments in a report to His Excellency. Within 14 days, the President must gazette. What ZEC has said and done in that report is final. So why do you want to listen to people who talk from the side shows – [AN HON. MEMBER: Including Justice.] – It does not matter, you must follow the Constitution.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for that explanation, however it did not extend to the issues that I sought your clarification. It is clear in terms of the processes that have to be done. However, the people that issued these statements are not ordinary citizens of this country. You are talking of a Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Communication.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you are a learned friend, just follow the Constitution – that is all. Do now worry about people who speak outside the Constitution.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: It is alright Hon. Speaker, I am sure the whole country is listening that they should not worry about these other commentators. What is happening Members on my right? No issue of national interest?
Delimitation Report: Speaker tells Parliament, do not listen to Nick Mangwana and George Charamba