Home » Governance » MPs Clash in Parliament

Debate on the 2015 National Budget briefly came to a halt amid chaos after zanu-pf Buhera Central representative Cde Ronald Muderedzwa, labelled some opposition parties in the country “a security threat” after legislators from the MDC factions objected to the funds allocated to the Ministry of Defence. The disturbances arose when the House was in Committee stage debating funds allocated to the various ministries by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

The Ministry of Defence was allocated US$309 105 000 in the 2015 Budget, a sum the MDC formations legislators argued was too high.

“We are not in a war. Our defence budget is too big. Some of the money should have been allocated to the ministries of education and health,” said Mr Thamsanqa Mahlangu MDC-T representative for Nkulumane.

He was immediately supported by other legislators among them Mr Innocent Gonese (MDC-T Chief Whip), Mr Settlement Chikwinya (MDC -T).

In his debate, Cde Muderedzwa, however, defended the allocation saying it was actually low considering the military needs. This raised the ire of the MDC formations with Bulawayo East legislator Ms Dorcas Sibanda (MDC-T) raising a point of order that Cde Muderedzwa had used unparliamentary language.

However, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Mabel Chinomona, overruled the objection.

This resulted in chaotic scenes as the MDC formations legislators led by Mr Chikwinya attempted to leave the House.

They were encouraged to leave by the zanu-pf legislators who resorted to shouting, “Go! Go!”

The MDC legislators then broke into song for a few minutes before order was eventually restored and debate continued.

In his response Minister Chinamasa, refuted the allegations that the defence budget was too high saying he had actually left out most of the military requirements.

“I have cut to the bone on the defence budget where I have not provided for purchase of new equipment. In fact, what cost more is not paying salaries but equipment.

“There is no uniformed forces in the whole world which don’t recruit on a planned basis otherwise you will have an army of old people which can’t go to the front.

“An army which doesn’t train becomes even a danger to itself and I haven’t provided for training in the Budget because when they train, they use live ammunition and real guns,” Minister Chinamasa said.

Turning to the other issues Minister Chinamasa reiterated that the fiscal space was tight resulting in low allocations to all ministries.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly adopted the various appropriations to the various ministries as contained in the Estimates of Expenditure while the Finance Bill that will effect the various policy measures announced in the Budget was referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee yesterday.

Debate on the Budget resumes today.

Source : The Herald

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