HARARE – Chaos reigned in Parliament on Wednesday after a Cabinet minister refused to answer questions from MDC MPs, and a Zanu PF MP called a female MDC MP a “prostitute” in the ensuing rumpus.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also the Leader of the House, refused to take a question over the ongoing strike by doctors from an MDC MP, saying he would only do so if the party recognised Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa as President.

Almost all the MDC MPs were immediately on their feet, yelling at Ziyambi before the Zanu PF MPs also rose, shooting invectives at the opposition benches.

In the exchanges, Thabitha Khumalo (MDC, Bulawayo East) accused Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF, Buhera South) of having called her a “hure” – a Shona word for prostitute.

When the Speaker asked Chinotimba if he had made the slur, the Zanu PF MP said he was only giving as much as he got.

MDC MPs, almost in unison, demanded that he withdraws the offensive word, and as Zanu PF Chief Whip Pupurai Togarepi walked towards him, Chinotimba finally frelented, telling the House three times: “I withdraw.”

The MDC does not recognise Mnangagwa as President following his disputed election win in July.

When he walked into Parliament for the 2019 budget statement reading, MDC MPs did not leave their seats. Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda controversially invited the police to walk in and remove the MPs for “lack of respect.”