Opposition MP demands ministerial statement on abductions and arrests

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By Anna Chibamu

AN opposition MP has demanded that Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema issues a statement on the ongoing reports of abductions and torture across the country.

MDC Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya on Tuesday requested that Mathema approaches parliament with a statement.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Tsitsi Gezi agreed, saying the minister must indeed attend to the request in due course.

Mathema, who was following proceedings in the house, immediately walked out of the legislative chamber as Chikwinya finished his request and before Gezi ruled.

Chikwinya said many MDC supporters and activists have been forced into hiding in the aftermath of the banned demonstrations the MDC had planned early this months.

Dozens have been abducted by suspected State security agents, tortured and left for dead.

“I rise on a motion of privilege and my concern is that since August 14 this year, 26 members of the opposition have been abducted and tortured at night.

“Section 61 (1) (b) of the Constitution allows freedom of expression but our youths are being abducted every day. It is dismay that one of our MPs Caston Matewu had his house sprayed with 21 bullets last week on 19 August, 2019 around 2am. Whilst we are doing our work, we expect protection from the law and enforcement agents Madam Speaker.,” Chikwinya said amid jeering from Zanu PF MPs.

Chikwinya said it was disheartening that the Zanu PF administration was violating the Constitution by not allowing MDC members to petition government on various issues affecting the nation.

The vocal MP also stated that Section 59 of the Constitution allows citizens to petition and demonstrate where they have any dissatisfaction towards government policies or programmes.

“It is disheartening Madam Speaker that continued abuse of our members whereby the opposition is not allowed to petition the government. We hope that government will see sense and abide by the dictates of the Constitution.

“I therefore implore the Minister of Home Affairs Cain Mathema to issue a ministerial statement on the developments that are taking place,” he added as one Zanu PF MPs shouted, “Hamusati matanga (you have not yet started).”

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tsitsi Gezi agreed that a statement be issued by the Home Affairs Minister.

“I will advise the Honorable Minister to come and give a ministerial statement,” Gezi responded.

On Friday, Minister Mathema professed ignorance on the matter and angrily told reporters that she was lying before hanging up his cellphone.

President Mnangagwa has used police to thwart countrywide demonstrations that were planned by the opposition over continuous price hikes in goods and services.