Senate President Mabel Chinomona told Citizens Coalition for Change Senators who were recalled by Sengezo Tshabangu that it is not the duty of Parliament to verify whether people who write letters are genuine or not.
Chinomona said their duty is only to act on the letters, and that those aggrieved can approach the courts to prove their cases.
Below is the full text of the debate that happened between Chinomona and various CCC Senators who were recalled:
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, I am seeing Hon. Members who were on the list as having been recalled, walking into the House. I do not understand what is taking place. Hon. Members, can anyone shed light.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: We as CCC, do not recognise the signature, so we are at a point where our leaders of CCC have not recalled anyone.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It is not me personally, who is recalling you. That matter cannot be resolved here, handiro dare racho. What was done wrongly should be done outside and be corrected, then we are also given a letter that, it was not supposed to have been done and I think the courts are there to do that. We do not know who is who in your party.
HON. SEN. TIMBA: You mentioned in your announcement that the person that has communicated to you claimed to be from CCC.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Yes.
HON. SEN. TIMBA: Meaning that you do not know whether they were from CCC or not?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We receive letters as usual.
HON. SEN. TIMBA: Meaning anyone from the street can write a letter and say that we are from CCC – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – I seek your protection Hon. President.
THE HON. PRESIDENT: Can we have order Hon. Members.
HON. TIMBA: Meaning that anyone in the street can write a letter, you receive it and you come and announce it here that they can claim that they are from ZANU PF and that they are recalling the following Members of ZANU PF and you just read it out. Is that what you are suggesting?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It is not our duty to verify who wrote this and that. We do not know your membership. Go to the courts and clear your names.
HON. TIMBA: Hon. President, with all due respect, we are not a banana republic. We have institutions, when we came into Parliament, names are given to you by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that these are the persons from ZANU PF, by name, province and that communication comes to this institution. We communicate with you as parties not just CCC, that the following persons are the leaders of the party in Parliament, whether it is a Chief Whip or Leader of the House. That communication comes from us as political parties. You cannot pretend that you do not know the people from ZANU PF or people from CCC.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: So, what are you saying?
HON. SEN. TIMBA: What I am saying is that it is important that when you receive a letter, you are not supposed to read a letter which comes from the street without you verifying whether or not that letter is coming from a party represented here in Parliament.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: No, excuse me Hon. Member, it is not the duty of the Presiding Officers to check validity. That is the work of the courts. Can you please go and make clarifications with the courts? What I want is to have Members of Parliament who have been allowed to come here and sit. I just enjoy a full House; it is not that I enjoy your being recalled. For me to know who is writing and who is not writing, please let it be clarified by the courts. I would not be able to let you in this House when you are not cleared, I cannot do that.
HON. SEN. TIMBA: I understand Hon. President. My point is, surely when you have received a letter, you do not know who has written that letter, you have our leaders who are known to you and introduced to you. Is it not fair for you to come to us and say we have received this letter coming from your party, please can you confirm whether or not it is coming from your party?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: The matter is not for debate.
HON. SEN. TIMBA: Madam President, can I confirm that you have also received letters from our own president? Can you also read the same letters to this House?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Section 129 (k) of the Constitution says, ‘If the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned, by written notice to the Speaker of the National Assembly or the President of the Senate as the case may be, has declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it;’ So, this matter is not for debate here, it is not on the agenda of this House – [HON. TIMBA: But you brought it Madam President.] – that was an announcement. It was not on the agenda.
Can I please explain to you that this matter is not for debate in this House [HON. TIMBA: Madam President…] – you can go to the courts and clarify this and after that everything will be okay – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! You are allowed to talk only when given the floor and not just to shout.
HON. SEN. TIMBA: Madam President, I would just like to make one point before I sit, that you are taking responsibility of collapsing Parliament of Zimbabwe.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Ah no! why collapsing the House? We were busy when you were outside, so please bear with me, that is not my duty. May you please take your seat. I do not want to call anyone to eject you. We are mature people especially in this Upper House. Hon. Sen. Timba, we have to learn to respect each other, I do not want to debate this because it is not on today’s Order Paper.
HON. SEN. M. SIBANDA: I want to get clarification, with all due respect…
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! How can you get clarification from me as though I am the one who is recalling you? – HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order! Can you please go and clarify this matter at the courts? We are not resolving anything in this House. Serjeant-at-Arms, may you please escort these Members out of this House.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Madam President, allow us to speak about this issue. You see, let me just explain.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I am not allowing you.
HON. SEN. TOME: I have not been recalled, so I thought maybe I could explain something.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You cannot explain anything concerning this matter, in this House. Do you understand me? We can talk to each other outside there, but not in this House.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Saka handeyi panze. Handeyi panze monotaura nesu then mozodzoka moenda nebasa renyu mberi because pane tsamba yakanyorwa musi wa 3 October. However, a letter which was written before is the one that is being read. Let us go outside and discuss and resolve the issue. Let us go and discuss with the people that you are evicting from this House, because if you do not do that, then we are not leaving this House, this is discrimination despite the fact that an official letter was written, but then you go ahead and read a letter which was written before.
HON. SEN. TOME: Our President wrote a letter to the Speaker of Parliament explaining that Tshabangu is not one of us. I insist that I need to explain.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: No.
HON. SEN. TOME: With all due respect Madam President, may I be allowed to say a few words?
An Hon. Senator having tried to sing.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Who is that one singing? Singing in the Chamber is not allowed. Can we have order in the House? Were you not at the Induction Workshop? Singing is not allowed.
Business was suspended for fifteen minutes at 3:14 p.m. and
resumed at 3.00 o’clock p.m.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE adjourned the Senate at Twenty-Five Minutes to Four O’clock p.m.in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 121.