HARARE – The political violence that has engulfed communities in Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces came into the spotlight during parliamentary debates this week.
Zanu PF and MDC MPs both took turns to denounce the political violence and urged the police to arrest perpetrators ahead of the watershed and harmonised elections set for March and June respectively.
MDC legislators blamed it on President Robert Mugabe for failing to control his party members as they have continued to unleash political violence.
The MPs feared that a repeat of political violence that took place in 2008 would be on the offing.
MDC MPs accused Mugabe of being double-faced — preaching peace, while on the other side his supporters are going on a rampage and committing arson. They cited the recent death of a 12-year-old boy in Headlands as just one of many examples.
The MDC MPs, who were debating on the presidential speech took the opportunity to denounce the violence perpetrated by Zanu PF, resulting in the death of Christopher Maisiri, son of Shepard Maisiri, an aspiring MDC MP.
Maisiri is challenging Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa who is also MP for Headlands.
Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe East, Sarah Mahoka was attacked by her party’s supporters during a rally at Zimoja Bussiness Centre resulting in her being hospitalised.
MDC MP for Zaka Central, Harrison Mudzuri said Mugabe should rein his party members who are behind this violence.
“While Mugabe is saying he is against political violence, his supporters are in the opposite, hence there is political violence ahead of elections.
“Sarah Mahoka has tasted her own medicine after she was attacked by members of her own party. We also denounce such acts of violence,” said Mudzuri.
MDC MP for Bikita South, Varandeni Jani said Zanu PF MPs no longer listen to Mugabe’s advice because of his advanced age. “He speaks of peace but when his MPs go out, they instigate violence. They know that he is an old man and cannot do anything to them,” said Jani.
MPs demand money for referendum campaign
Parliament adjourned on Wednesday to May 7 this year to give legislators time to campaign in their Constituencies for the draft constitution.
Legislators in both houses agreed to take a break from parliamentary sessions to campaign for the draft charter.
Despite the adjournment of Parliament the parliamentary portfolio and thematic committees will continue holding the public hearings meetings.
Deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Obert Gutu urged Senators to campaign for a ‘‘Yes’’ vote.
MDC MP for Musikavanhu Constituency, Prosper Mutseyami moved a motion demanding payment for the referendum campaign.
“I think people now associate parliamentarians with the Copac draft and as such they would listen to us. We have to sell it on the people,” said Mutseyami.
Mutseyami said there was no funding for the MPs to go out there and campaign for a ‘‘Yes’’ vote.
“While the president emphasised the importance of the draft constitution, government hasn’t mobilised MPs to make sure they achieved results bearing in mind that they need transport, fuel,” said Mutsemayi.
Parly, ZLHR to collaborate
Parliament this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to capacitate legislators in the fields of human rights work.
The signing ceremony was attended by the speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo, deputy Senate president Naison Ndlovu, clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma and ZLRH chairperson Andrew Makoni, and executive director Irene Petras.
For over three years, ZLRH has worked with Parliament Portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs Peace and Thematic Committee on Human Rights.
Re-engage Mawere to resuscitate Shabani-Mashava
Chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy who is also Zanu PF MP Chindori — Chininga, called on government to engage businessman Mutumwa Mawere over the re-opening of asbestos Shabani-Mashava Mines (SMM).
The recommendation was made during the winding up of a motion on the status of the mines to legislators.
Chininga recommended that Mawere and government enter into dialogue to negotiate and develop a win lasting solution which will allow the resuscitation of the two mines.
It wants to see a speedy recovery of the mines so that they can start to operate at full capacity.
“It is the committee’s sincere hope that at some point in time, a dialogue will begin between government and Mawere to find a solution which benefits workers, communities of Shabani and Mashava, as well as for the economic development of the nation,” said Chininga.
Chininga recommended that the Executive should relook at the committee’s recommendation to repeal or review the Reconstruction of State Indebtedness and Insolvent Companies Act (act which saw Mawere losing control of the mines to government) — as part of the legal adjustment to be done after the new constitution has been passed and enacted in the supreme law of the land.
Battle for control of the two asbestos mines sucked in Parliament in 2010 when Mawere appeared before the committee and claimed he was the owner of the mines.
He presented evidence on how he has lost the ownership of the mines to government.
The committee made an inquiry into the challenges facing Shabani-Mashava mines (SMM) which are the sole producers of chrysolite fibre in the country.