HARARE – The Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda had to call two lawmakers to order on Wednesday after they called him by his nickname.
This was after MDC chief whip Prosper Mutseyami and independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa had referred to Mudenda as “the headmaster”— a sobriquet he earned because of his firmness and impartiality when conducting parliamentary business.
Mudenda who had earlier allowed Mliswa to get away with it when he referred to him by his nickname, became furious when Mutseyami rubbed it in, threatening to prefer contempt of the chair charges against both of them.
“Order, the two honourable Mliswa and honourable Mutseyami, before I respond to your points of order please know that the nickname of the honourable Speaker can be pronounced only outside this House. If you repeat it, I shall charge you for contempt of the chair,” charged Mudenda.
In his first contribution of the day, Mliswa had sought to thank Mudenda for heeding MPs’ call for him to move their induction workshop from a Harare lodge to a more spacious venue.
As he gushed in praise of the Speaker of Parliament, he dropped Mudenda’s nickname and got away with it.
“In your absence yesterday, I did say to the sitting chair that we appreciated the move that you took to move us from Pandhari to the HICC. I think you really behaved like a true headmaster whereby if your students cry you respond to them,” Mliswa said.
While Mudenda did not take offence when Mliswa spoke, he became annoyed when Mutseyami repeated the nickname while adding his voice to a complaint that had been raised by Mliswa over ministers’ failure to respect the National Assembly question without notice session by either absconding the Wednesday sessions or coming in late.
As he weighed in to Mliswa’s concerns, Mutseyami referred to Mudenda as “our good headmaster”.
“We have on record 40 ministers here including deputies and Provincial ministers but we hardly have 20 in this House so, if you can make the ruling as the best Speaker and as our headmaster for the good of Parliament, the better,” Mutseyami said to Mudenda’s annoyance.
In his usual no nonsense mood, Mudenda cracked the whip on the two legislators — bringing them to order.