50% of Parly staff test positive for COVID says Mliswa

50% of Parly staff test positive for COVID says Mliswa
50% of Parly staff test positive for COVID says Mliswa

50% of Parly staff test positive for COVID says Mliswa

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has told Parliament that it should close and send everyone into quarantine or isolation alleging that about 50% of Parliament staff have tested positive to COVID-19.

Mliswa’s call comes at a time when Parliament is busy debating the 2022 proposed national budget.

Besides the budget, there are also bills that have been introduced and other that are waiting to be introduced in Parliament.

Below is the conversation that transpired in the National Assembly about the issues.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker Sir, the point of order is of our health. I do not know Mr. Speaker Sir if you are aware that 50% of the Parliamentary staff have tested COVID positive. So, that is subject for you to do your research, which means that each one of us has been in contact with them and once in contact with the positive, you need to go in isolation for 10 to 14 days.

You are very aware that the Speaker is in isolation because of one of his assistants who was positive; he has adhered to it as the Speaker. So, it will be really shameful for us not to go into isolation until the 10 to 14 days. 50% is not a joke. So, may we adhere to the COVID protocols, we are a Parliament which abides by the laws of this country and as such, we cannot be seen to be doing anything other than the right thing in leading by example.

The Speaker has led by example; may we follow suit. Therefore, I move that Parliament adjourns until the COVID protocols have been followed of 10 to 14 days. We cannot continue, 50% is not a joke. We are in touch, in contact with these workers at Parliament and I am told it might even go up, no wonder why it is depleted. The Parliament has become dysfunctional as a result of that – may we adjourn, we cannot continue, this concerns our health. Thank you.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. First of all, as a Parliament of Zimbabwe, we have not been advised of those statistics. However, we recognise that figures are rising and probably we also need to respond. The seating arrangement is not also favourable, particularly on that side. We need to start giving each other social distance. We shall look at that matter very seriously and advise but we cannot just adjourn because we do not have statistics.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we cannot at all take from your discretion. Health cannot be – you cannot use your discretion. It is important that you find out from Parliament staff whether it is true or not and whilst you are finding out, we adjourn. We cannot take a risk, we cannot, it is not something Mr. Speaker Sir, you will create havoc unnecessarily. You have a good name and it is important that you take the necessary measures to ensure that the statistics I am talking about are right or wrong. Even if it is 30%, it is still too high.

So, to me you can adjourn Parliament and let us get information. We cannot continue with this Parliament on such an issue, we cannot take a risk on our health, we cannot. Some of us have got 19 kids; I go back to the kids, and now what happens? – [Laughter.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – For those who do not have, it is up to you, I love my kids, I cannot go and spread this disease to my kids, I cannot.

So, to me, I therefore propose, may we have – the health staff is here, Parliament has got the health staff Mr. Speaker Sir. The Clerk is not part of health; ask the Parliamentary health desk what the statistics are. That is the best way for you go about it. It is a credible way of ascertaining information.

We have a health desk where the administrator is paid to do health, what are they saying, am I right or wrong? This will make us become irresponsible. We cannot become irresponsible in this country, everybody is watching, this is 50% of Parliament, you know. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I therefore say, if you are to be well informed, can you approach the health desk of Parliament and then they can tell you whether what I am saying is wrong or not. No one else can say that unless there is empirical evidence which can only be ascertained from the office which mans health in this Parliament, no one else.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, thank you very much. Hon. Mliswa, I have ruled that we hear you. This is very important but we will only adjourn when we are advised accordingly, very urgently.

HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I would beg to differ. Yes, the concerns raised by the Hon. Member are genuine, frightening if they are true, very frightening. However, we do not have evidence yet that show that 50% of our staff have tested positive.

Mr Speaker, my view is; all those who have tested positive have already isolated, they are not here and all Members of Parliament who are here, we all know that we have already come up with a decision that 50 Members will come into this House and the majority of them have been vaccinated and all who would want to debate on participating parliamentary business can do so virtually. So, there is no need to be worried but if you really feel being in the House could jeopardize your life, you can go back to your hotel or house and listen from there and we will proceed with business. I thank you.

50% of Parly staff test positive for COVID says Mliswa

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