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MDC-T MPs who heckled President Robert Mugabe during his televised State of the Nation address on Tuesday were reportedly threatened with unspecified action by state security agents for allegedly embarrassing the 91-year-old leader.
Highfields East MP Erick Murai was, Wednesday, said to be among the MPs who received threats from Zanu PF legislators in the chamber and by suspected state agents outside the house.
Murai was unreachable when attempts to seek his comment were made.
Party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora however, confirmed the incidents but could not be drawn into giving further details.
“They were threatened both in the chamber and outside the chamber by some Zanu PF MPs who are well known to come from the security establishments,” Mwonzora told NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.
The former Nyanga North legislator slammed the ruling Zanu PF party for attempting to stifle the opposition’s freedom of expression.
“The threats on our MPs are unacceptable and a clear breach on the Parliament Immunities and Privileges Act,” Mwonzora said.
“It is permissible in a parliamentary democracy to heckle; it is also permissible to bring somebody to book.
“These Members of Parliament were reacting to the lack of content and imagination in President Mugabe’s speech; they were reacting to an unfathomable degree of mediocrity displayed and therefore they were within their rights.”
During Tuesday’s sitting, opposition MPs jeered at the elderly statesman as he rumbled through what they found to be an uninspiring 30 minute long prepared speech.
As President Mugabe concluded his address, the MPs stood up and drowned the chamber with the derisive chants “Zanu yaora” (Zanu PF is now rotten).
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda issued his own threats to chanting MPs from both parties following the tumultuous events.
“I want to remind honourable members that we did ban the issue of singing,” Mudenda told the MPs in the house on Tuesday.
“… I hope this would be the last time when we exercise our voices in song. It is not necessary at all.
Mudenda threatened to ban leaders of misbehaving MPs from attending Parliament for the entire session, which is usually a year long.
“I do not want to remove someone from the House, please,” he continued.
“… Once we identify the leader of that song, do not be surprised that you are suspended, perhaps up to the whole session of Parliament and that has got serious consequences in terms of your standing here in Parliament.
“So I want to appeal to you that, let us restrain ourselves, no matter what the message, no matter where the message is coming from, there will be time for us to debate.”