By Anna Chibamu
CITIZENS’ Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator, Toffa Tongoona Wednesday came to Parliament with both arms in slings after suspected Zanu PF thugs attacked opposition members a fortnight ago in Matobo, Matebeleland South Province.
The MP, who had been missing from Parliament business for some time, was dragged from her seat by colleagues to Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe for him to see what they called “Zanu PF brutality”.
All this happened in front of Vice President and Health Minister, Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the acting president.
Chiwenga kept his cool as he watched the unfolding drama, where Kazembe was blasted by the enraged MPs demanding an apology from him.
The visibly furious opposition bench forced the Question and Answer (Q & A) session to a halt and took turns to blast Zanu PF party members and Kazembe for the attack that left several women nursing injuries.
Police investigations are still going on, according to Kazembe.
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It all started when CCC Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese told Speaker Jacob Mudenda that the country had witnessed a surge in political violence recently, and there seemed to be no rule of law in the country.
The CCC legislator told the House the violence had not spared anyone and even MPs were under attack.
“The question is based on upholding the rule of law. We have witnessed a spectrum of political violence; recently, we had Members of Parliament, including Honourable Toffa, who is here in the House and has broken arms which are in slings, and Honourable Phulu, who were both assaulted during the campaigns,” Gonese said
Gonese, however, then redirected his question to the acting president, saying “…it had a fundamental issue founded on the principles of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and founding values”.
Unfortunately, he was blocked by the Speaker, who ordered him to redirect the question to Kazembe.
Gonese went on to tell the speaker that reports were made and suspects identified, but no one has been arrested for that heinous crime to this date.
“What steps is government taking to ensure that the principles of the administration of justice and upholding the rule of law are upheld so that we do not have a continuation of this ugly situation, particularly in the context of the upcoming elections?”
Kazembe responded, “His Excellency the President is on record saying ‘no to political violence’. When he says that, he does not point at any particular person, neither does he point at any political party. He is simply saying ‘no to political violence.”
The opposition MPs could not listen to Kazembe and were given warnings to leave the House.
Home affairs minister told Parly police had made an announcement as he had done the same.
“Nobody is above the law and political violence or any violence for that matter is not acceptable. Whenever violence occurs, fortunately or unfortunately, the police do not act on social media or drama,” said Kazembe, causing chaos.
He was asked to approach the chair.
CCC legislators could not believe Kazembe’s response and they hit back.
This led to Mudenda forcing ejection of CCC member, Murisi Zwizwai.
“Minister will explain the issue of the social media aspect and then we will end the debate there and wait for his ministerial statement. Honourable Zwizwai, please can you leave the House!”
Zwizwai quickly stood up and spoke his mind before walking out.
“I can leave, but know that it is a woman who has been beaten up. Kuita basa rekurova vakadzi. I will leave but your conscience will bother you because you know the truth, that a woman was beaten up.”
Kazembe tried to explain the social media aspect, but the opposition bench would not have it.
“In short, I was simply not saying social media in reference to the issue that is being discussed. I was giving a background so that I will give an answer; the same way the Honourable Member gave a background. I got my statement concluded before I concluded it. It was misinterpreted.”
The minister alleged drama in the skirmishes, promising to explain it in his statement next week after which all other related issues will be debated.
Another CCC MP, Amos Chibaya was later ejected from the House after he was accused of being on the phone during the proceedings.