Tension mounts in Zimbabwe, as opposition lawmakers suspended, denied salaries


HARARE – Members of Parliament (MPs) from Zimbabwe’s main opposition party have been suspended for six parliament sittings and would not receive salaries for the next two months.

Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, made the call after the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) held protests in Parliament, saying 15 of its MPs had been tricked into losing their seats.

On Monday, a man pretending to be the CCC’s Secretary-General wrote a letter to Speaker claiming the 15 MPs were no longer party members, the BBC reported.

The party does not have a Secretary-General and the letter was littered with grammatical errors.

Despite CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa, asking him to disregard the letter, the Speaker, who was an MP for the ruling Zanu-PF party, declared the 15 seats vacant.

As a result of Mudenda’s decision, CCC MPs disrupted parliamentary proceedings for nearly two hours.

According to CCC politicians and local media, riot police were summoned to the chamber.

“It is a cowardly act by Zanu-PF Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, to summon riot police and have our MPs beaten and injured following their defeat in a parliamentary debate.

“This kind of behaviour must be stopped to prevent potential instability in our country. The regime in Harare should not mistake our peaceful demeanour for weakness,” the CCC tweeted.

Read More: Amnesty Intn’l claims Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa sustaining Mugabe’s brutal human rights abuses

The case was likely to worsen political tensions, which had been running high in the southern African country since controversial presidential elections in August.

Chamisa, 45, lost to incumbent 81-year-old president Emmerson Mnangagwa in a race that international observers said fell short of democratic standards.

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