Mliswa challenges Parly suspension

Tarisai Machakaire

INDEPENDENT Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has dragged Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to court challenging a decision to suspend him for six sittings on allegations of disorderly conduct.

The MP was suspended by Mudenda almost a fortnight ago.
Mliswa, in the urgent chamber application, seeks to have the decision set aside with costs and pending the final determination of the application, Mliswa wants his suspension lifted.
Mliswa argued that Mudenda’s actions were ultra vires constitutional provisions that mandate him to abide by standing orders which he had breached by suspending him.
He said according to the standing orders, Mudenda is only limited to impose punishment pertaining to a particular sitting of Parliament on that particular day.
“Thus, the Speaker has powers to rule a member out of order to prevent a member from speaking or to chuck out a member from the House,” Mliswa said.
“The Speaker is the head of Parliament, but he exercises his functions subject to standing orders. Where the Speaker acts outside standing orders, then his actions are a nullity.
“Where any member commits an offence which goes beyond the Speaker’s normal powers, then a committee of privilege must be set up and due process followed.”
Mliswa said Mudenda is given power to name a member in the House accused of grossly disorderly conduct where it is considered that given the gravity of the misconduct one day is not sufficient punishment.
The court heard standing order 109 regulates that the Speaker orders a member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from Parliament for the remainder of that day’s sitting.
“Standing orders regulate the procedure of Parliament. They regulate the orderly conduct of business and proceedings in and between the Houses. Section 139 makes it clear that Standing orders must promote transparency, must encourage the involvement of members of all political parties in Parliament and the public and must be fair and just,” added Mliswa.

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