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Parly row as MPs take exception to Minister’s comments on political violence

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By Anna Chibamu


A ROW erupted in Parliament Wednesday after Justice minister and leader of government business Ziyambi Ziyambi accused opposition members of causing “unnecessary tensions in the house” by bringing up “petty political issues”.

According to the minister, reports of political violence around the country were exaggerated by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.

Ziyambi’s comments came after CCC legislator for Glen Norah, Wellington Chikombo, complained about the upsurge in political violence during elections countrywide.

Recent clashes in Matobo left several women injured.

CCC MPs told Speaker Jacob Mudenda that Member of Parliament Jasmine Tofa was tortured during the clashes and is currently admitted in hospital.

Ziyambi however, dismissed the opposition MPs’ allegations.

There is a tendency among some Honourable Members of the opposition movement to speak more than the bereaved,” he said.

“They try as much as possible to unnecessarily smuggle in the Gukurahundi issue here in Parliament. As government, we have zero tolerance to violence. It is unfair to politicise certain events to cause alarm and despondency.

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“These MPs do not know how much the Second Republic President Emmerson Mnangagwa is working to make sure the Gukurahundi and other violent incidents of the past are resolved. It is sad that these members are excitable.”

This angered the opposition legislators who urged the Speaker Mudenda to bring Ziyambi to order over his “derogatory comments”.

Norton member of parliament Temba Mliswa

“Ziyambi must be brought to order. I have seen the pictures of Hon. Tofa and other women who were tortured,” said Norton independent MP Mliswa.

“The minister should appreciate us bringing such issues here because they save the nation from becoming a war zone. The word excitable has been wrongly used.

“This issue is very sensitive . He is dismissive of what transpired. So many cases have been reported and nothing has happened.”

Mliswa demanded for a ministerial statement from home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe over violent clashes that have happened countrywide especially in Gokwe, Nyatsime, Chitungwiza and the Matobo incident.

“Decorum is critical for this Parliament to be respected; fire for fire does not help,” he said.

“The word excitable was not proper. We as MPs cannot be afraid of carrying out our responsibilities in constituencies for fear of being beaten by the public.

“Kazembe must come here and give us a way forward on elections. The whole country is in violence. We want peace in this country.”

Zimbabwe will next year go to the polls and fears are high the country might be turned into a war zone as opposition CCC and ruling Zanu PF parties have been into a political turmoil that threatens peace.

Police have since released a statement on the current violent clashes in Matebeleland.

“ZRP is seized with reports of violent skirmishes which occurred in Matobo. Reports of assault and violence have been received from both Zanu PF and CCC members.

“Investigations are now in progress with a view of accounting for all suspects involved in violence,” read part of the police statement.