MDC Alliance MPs, known for walking out or booing President Emmerson Mnangagwa while he is addressing the nation in Parliament, have denied they boycotted the president’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) Thursday.
However, the legislators claim no invitations were forwarded to them to attend the event due to Covid-19 restrictions.
On his part, and as a way of minimising the risks of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mnangagwa made his SONA speech and opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe through a virtual address at the State House in Harare.
However, not one MP aligned to Nelson Chamisa attended the address which was beamed live in Parliament where the majority of MPs were gathered at the time.
This raised suspicions the MDC Alliance had boycotted the event as the majority of MPs aligned to MDC-T interim president Thokozani Khupe attended. Khupe, as the newly appointed leader of the opposition in Parliament, attended the virtual address in Parliament.
However, Kucaca Phulu, the MDC Alliance for Nkulumane in Bulawayo dismissed the assertions they had boycotted SONA.
“I did not boycott Parliament as reported by some media organizations. The fact is that I and other MPs were not invited to attend the function due to Covid-19,” he said.
“Actually, Parliament circulated a list of parliamentarians and cabinet ministers who were supposed to attend the opening,” he added.
Phulu said on the day, he was in his hotel room in Harare following the SONA proceedings.
“I know a lot of MPs who were unable to attend Parliament and followed the parliamentary proceedings from their different bases. So it is not true that I snubbed Parliament,” said Phulu.
However, the MDC Alliance’s national deputy spokesperson Clifford Hlatshwayo begged to differ and told NewZimbabwe.com the opposition party had resolved their MPs should stay away from Mnangagwa’s SONA as he was an illegitimate President of Zimbabwe.
“It’s not a boycott but an action we have taken because we have to be heard. No one voted for Mnangagwa. The courts imposed him for a reason. The reason is to control the resources of this country. But for him, he does not have a solution to issues of social decay, issues of civil servants’ welfare,” said Hlatshwayo.