MDC ALLIANCE has accused Norton MP Temba Mliswa of indecent assault on party legislator Memory Mbondiah after the opposition lawmakers were Monday involved in a scuffle which saw the abandonment of a Public Accounts Committee meeting which was hosting businessman Wicknell Chivhayo’s Intratrek.
Mliswa, on his part is also pressing theft charges against Mbondiah whom he accuses of stealing his bag, two phones and US$3 000 in cash.
The committee meeting had been called to enquire into contracts awarded to the firms by power utility, ZESA Holdings on the Gwanda Solar and Prepaid Metre Projects respectively.
The abortive deal in which Chivhayo’s company had been advanced US$5 million by ZESA to kick-start the project but failed, is before the courts after the power utility brought the action against the firm.
Mliswa and Mbondiah argued on whether Chivhayo was indeed supposed to give oral evidence on several issues regarding the deal when the matter was still being determined within the courts of law.
On a point of order, Mliswa requested committee chairperson MDC Alliance MP Brian Dube to get answers from Chivhayo on whether his case had been cleared by the courts to avoid parliament falling foul of the law.
But matters came to a head when Mliswa and Mbondiah were involved in their own side squabble on how the matter should be handled.
Mbondiah was heard shouting at Mliswa, “I am not your wife. You do not tell me what to do. I am not asking him (Chivhayo) that question and I will proceed with the manner that I have indicated.
“I am not going to be asked by you what to ask him. I am not your wife.”
The MP went on to punch Mliswa, inflaming what was already a volatile situation.
Mbondiah, whose iPad was damaged during the fight, threw some punches at Mliswa who did not retaliate as the argument heated up.
Speaking to the media after the chaos, Mliswa said, “I got a few punches from Honourable Mbondiah but that is ok. I never fight women. That is what happened.
“She took my bag and I am still to check if my money which was there is still in.
“My point was that as parliament, we cannot raise issues which are before the courts. The legal counsel of parliament deals with problems which arise. It is a simple separation of powers.
“You have witnessed yourself that women who complain that men beat them but today you saw me being beaten.
“I do not know what to say because yesterday was Mother’s Day. On the gender aspect, women are saying ‘we are being abused by men’ and today a woman, Honourable member of Parliament beat me.
“She tried to record me when we were in there and I told her not to do so since this was an internal process that we had to deal with as a committee.
“I said we need to stand up to protect this institution (parliament). If matters are before the courts, allow the courts to exhaust them and if not, let the legal counsel to give us the way forward.
“The Hwange issue is one of such issues, I was the chairperson. The issue was before the courts and we had to stop hearings,” said Mliswa.
Mbondiah refused to talk to the media, only choosing to show her damaged iPad.
Police had to be called but left parliament building without any arrests.
The chairperson acknowledged the fight but said this would not stop hearing in future as Chivhayo was still to be advised on a new hearing date. newzimbabwe