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Will opposition MPs snub Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address again ?

By Darlington Gatsi

AMIDST demands for a fresh election by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Members of Parliament (MP) appearance at the opening of the 10th session of the national assembly, remains unclear.

Mnangagwa will Tuesday deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA) and open the 10th Parliament at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden.

As was the case in 2018 the opposition has refused to acknowledge Mnangagwa’s presidency citing a “flawed” election.

In the aftermath of a contested 2018 general election, then MDC-Alliance MPs walked out as soon as Mnangagwa began his SONA in protest over the Constitutional Court’s decided presidential plebiscite.

In the recent polls, Mnangagwa beat closest challenger, CCC leader Nelson Chamisa in last month’s elections which have been described as a “gigantic fraud” by the opposition.

CCC legislators, who last month snubbed the election of the Speaker if Parliament arrived late for the national assembly, after vowing to defend “areas of their autonomy”.

Opposition chief whip Amos Chibaya was coy about their MPs’ appearance for Tuesday’s session.

“You wait until we cross the bridge,” said Chibaya curtly.

CCC MPs have been vocal in lobbying regional body Southern African Development Community (SADC) to scaffold a fresh election in Zimbabwe, a suggestion that has since been scoffed at by Zanu PF.

This has left the country in a political stalemate.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said attending the opening of the 10th session on Tuesday is not a sign of conceding defeat by the opposition.

“MPs were directly voted for by citizens. The electoral rigging by ZANU PF may have affected numerical outcomes, but certainly not the legitimacy of the MP office.

“Rigging was more blatant on the presidential vote, but Nelson Chamisa is not expected to attend Parliament anyway. so those voted for must attend Parliament. Snubbing means a lot but it compromises our vote. Attending does not mean they credit the legitimacy. It’s an entitlement, a token of our confidence in their leadership,” she said.

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