Legislators from the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) today walked out on President Emmerson Mnangagwa's State Of The Nation (SONA) address, the umpteenth time since his inauguration post-2018's disputed elections.
Mnangagwa was due to make a SONA on the occasion of the opening of the second session of the ninth Parliament in front of all legislators, but MDC legislators walked out soon after the National anthem was played preceding Mnangagwa's speech.
In an interview with 263Chat, MDC Leader of the House, Thabitha Khumalo said the action was in sync with party instruction from its Congress held earlier this year to disregard Mnangagwa as a legitimate leader.
"We as the MDC under the leadership of Advocate Nelson Chamisa we had a covenant bestowed upon us at our last Congress that we shall not recognize Mnangagwa's government, we don't recognize this administration because it stole the vote of the people through the Constitutional Court so today was just a demonstration that we stick to our covenant that we don't recognize him as President of the country," she said.
Khumalo said her party was awake to the challenges facing the country which would only be resolved through a genuine dialogue amongst the country's biggest political players.
'When we started to boycott last year, you witnessed it, they beat us but today they couldn't do so, neither did they obstruct us which shows that our actions have moved them. We know Mnangagwa thrives on violence but he realizes he cannot continue doing so,"added Khumalo.
This is not the first time MDC legislators have boycotted Parliamentary proceedings in the presence of Mnangagwa following a similar incident in September last year when Mnangagwa was due to present his SONA and another similar action earlier this year when Mnangagwa graced Parliament for the Budgetary presentation by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube.
The latest plot by the MDC was crafted to further embarrass the Zimbabwean leader who has already made a speech in deserted auditorium at the United Nations General Assembly barely a week ago.
But authorities were anticipating this action.
"Sona is pencilled for this week, how the opposition MPs will conduct themselves will determine the political climate in Zimbabwe. Time and time again President @edmnangagwa has reached across the political divide in an effort to reduce political tensions so we move the country forward," tweeted Nick Mangwana, Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
The MDC has not conceded defeat to Mnangagwa following a highly contentious election result that saw the stalemate settled by the Constitutional Court in favour of Mnangagwa.