Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Nelson Chamisa is in a fix. He failed today to get Parliament to discuss his motion on police brutality. And this could be the end of the story.
Speaker Jacob Mudenda allowed Chamisa to table the motion for the third time today but warned that if it was not debated today it would not be entertained in the future.
Chamisa first brought the motion to the House on Wednesday last week saying he had video evidence of police beating up peaceful demonstrators but there was no quorum on Thursday when he introduced it formally.
In his motion Chamisa wanted:
- The Minister of Home Affairs to investigate the conduct of these police officers and report to Parliament within a period stipulated by Parliament of a month.
- The Minister of Home Affairs to issue a public apology in the interim over the untoward conduct of some of the police officers.
- Immediately implement a training of police officers’ programme in terms of human rights as part of their curriculum as envisaged and contemplated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
- To put in place an Act of Parliament setting up an independent Complaints Commission and mechanism for members of the public to report on abuses by the police in terms of Section 210 of our national law.
- Ensure that in line with the national Magna Carter of our Constitution, Parliament sets up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the conduct of the police, either through the Portfolio Committee or through a set up Committee by Parliament to make sure that we do justice in our oversight role.
There was no quorum again when he tried to introduce the motion on Friday.
Today, debate had to be halted when it was discovered that there was no quorum while legislators were debating a motion introduced by Buhera West legislator Oliver Mandipaka calling for a basic orientation course for legislators on the history of Zimbabwe.
Chamisa had assured the Speaker that members were now ready to debate motion but had not yet taken the floor when the House adjourned, giving him perhaps another chance.
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has developed a technique of deserting the House when they want to kill motions critical of the government tabled by the MDC-T.
There has to be at least 70 of out 270 members in the House to constitute a quorum but the MDC-T no longer has that many members in the House since it expelled those who had crossed the floor to join Tendai Biti and refused to contest by-elections to fill those vacancies.
MDC-T had 70 members in the lower House after the 2013 elections, 49 elected in their constituencies and 21 women legislators.
HON. CHAMISA: Mr. Speaker Sir, just to appreciate other Members of Parliament. My motion today has to do with a motion on a matter of urgent public importance, which motion, you are aware I moved last week. I am also reliably informed that fellow Members of Parliament are now ready to debate this motion so that we utilise the resources of the taxpayer. It is on that account Mr. Speaker Sir, that I wish to move the following motion. The motion has already been tabled before – just to restate for purposes of procedure and making sure that we are in line with dictates of the rules and orders. The motion reads….
THE HON. SPEAKER: There is no need to repeat it.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I really appreciate. So the motion is accordingly placed on the Table for the House to debate on adjournment.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The motion contemplated by Hon. Chamisa is in terms of Order Number 59. This motion has suffered still-birth twice and the Hon. Member, I do not know how he consulted. However, I want to take him on his word that there are still people who would like to debate that motion – I will give it a last chance. If it fails again, it shall not be entertained in future because we do not want to do that which we know may not succeed. I have advised Hon. Chamisa to try other aspects or strategies that may achieve the same.
In terms of Standing Order Number 59, how many are still for that motion?
All MDC-T Members rose in their places.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The number of Hon. Members supporting the motion being more than 25, the motion will stand in terms of Standing Order Number 59, although I was expecting a large number of people as was indicated by Hon. Chamisa.