By Mutsa Makuvaza
THERE was drama yesterday in Parliament when Zanu-PF Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba, Norton MP Temba Mliswa (INDEPENDENT) and MDC Alliance’s Harare East legislator Tendai Biti exchanged harsh words after fellow MDC Alliance legislator Joana Mamombe (Harare West) had spoken against gender-based violence.
Chinotimba stirred up controversy when he asked why Parliament had allowed a “mad person” to speak, in reference to Mamombe’s medical records before the courts, leading to Tendai Biti charging that the Deputy Speaker must “expel that bearded man from this House for abusing this young lady”.
“Madam Speaker, munoumu mapinda munhu anorwara, anopenga. Tomubvumidza kuti ngaataure (why have you allowed a mentally ill person to speak in Parliament),” Chinotimba said in Shona after Mamombe had spoken.
Mamombe was recently certified mentally unable to comprehend court proceedings in a case where she is on trial for faking her own abduction together with two other opposition MDC-A colleagues.
Biti immediately sprang to Mamombe’s defence and demanded that the Deputy Speaker order Chinotimba’s expulsion from the building.
“Hon. Chinotimba must withdraw his offensive statement. It is abuse to gender. are in the week of gender-based violence and he perpetrates gender based violence.
“We ask for your ruling to expel that bearded man from this House for abusing this young lady. Parliament must protect women. Women must feel secure in this august House, so this man Hon. Chinotimba must be expelled from this House,” Biti said.
At that moment, Mliswa stepped in and demanded that Chinotimba be at least forced to withdraw his unbecoming and insensitive statement.
“A medical report must be produced kuti munhu is not stable and without that he must withdraw. He cannot get away with it. The precedent we are setting is wrong,” said Mliswa.
When challenged to withdraw his statement, Chinotimba maintained that Joana Mamombe “anorwara uyu”. He late on said: “I am withdrawing my statement that Hon. Mamombe murwere.”
Other MPs interjected and demanded an outright withdrawal without reference to Mamombe’s illness. “Chingoti I withdraw chete.”
Mliswa, unimpressed by Chinotimba’s behaviour, said: “Haubati mukadzi mushe kumba uko (You’re failing to take good care of your own wife),” in reference to Chinotimba’s strained marriage which made tabloid headlines last month. “Enda unobata mukadzi zvakanaka kumba. It is in the public that you are failing to give your wife conjugal rights,” Mliswa said.
The tussle continued with the Deputy Speaker Tatenda Mavetera overwhelmed and failing to reign in Chinotimba. “It is written in the Affidavit that Hon. Mamombe vanorwara zvakabuda mucourt,” Chinotimba said.
Mamombe had attracted the ire of Chinotimba and a few other Zanu-PF legislators when she demanded that Parliament take action on Mberengwa North Tafanana Zhou (Zanu-PF) who she said sexual harassed her on two occasions inside the Parliament building.
“The abuse cannot be tolerated any further. Madam Speaker, if you look at these two matters, my name as Joana Mamombe was cited as a victim of abuse in these two matters that I have told you about.
“On the 29th October 2020, Hon. Zhou raised in this House that I should be recalled from Parliament due my mental illness. This is perpetuated abuse on my being by this Hon. Member.
“While the MP enjoys his status he forgets that he is a perpetrator of sexual harassment in his province and has a case before the Bulawayo High Court,” said Mamombe.
Meanwhile, Mavetera promised to have Parliament look into the harassment issues raised by Mamombe against Zhou. – Zimbabwe Voice ■