By Anna Chibamu
NORTON independent MP Temba Mliswa has defended calls made by the United Kingdom (UK) MPs calling for Zimbabwe to stop political persecution and respect the rule of law.
Irate Zanu PF MPs Wednesday in the House of Assembly demanded answers from Foreign Minister Fredrick Shava on why the UK Commonwealth Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon had told the House of Commons that Zimbabwe would only be readmitted into the Commonwealth if it reformed, and stopped political persecution, and respect the rule of law.
However, during a question and answer session Wednesday, Gutu South MP, and Zanu PF chief whip, Pupurai Togarepi said the UK was breaking international laws by debating about Zimbabwe.
“Each time the House of Lords debates about Zimbabwe, it appears as if Zimbabwe is a province of the British government. I would like to hear from the Foreign Affairs Minister as regards these attacks from Britain. What is the government’s position on this matter? They are breaking the international. We cannot keep seeing them attacking our country?” Togarepi said.
However, Mliswa interjected and defended the UK MPs adding he agreed with their call for reforms and an end to political persecution as he was also a victim.
“We must be an institution of integrity and I think we are really making our ministers appear foolish at the end of the day. If the British are out of order Madam Speaker, the Ambassador is called by the Minister of Foreign Affairs… to put them in order – that is how we work in terms of diplomatic ties,” Mliswa said.
“The sponsor of the question (Togarepi) was not specific to what the British have said. He just said they are saying this and that in the House of Commons. What is it that they are saying which is an attack on the people of Zimbabwe?
“It was a debate, the same way we debate about sanctions that the British must not push for sanctions, the Americans must not push for sanctions – it was a genuine debate. We must be very clear when interfering with debates of other countries.
“There was nothing, Zimbabwe wants to re-engage in the Commonwealth, and in so doing, they are going to the British, they are lobbying the British who have got their own terms of re-engagement.
“They are saying, human rights violation, you are not adhering to it and so forth; persecution of people – I am one who has been persecuted by this government. So to me, I also agree in terms of reforms that should take place. So I do not know when they are debating on issues which have not been put in this House to say, the British have said A, B, C, and D.”
Mliswa added: “I do not expect a British Member of Parliament to say Zimbabwe House of Assembly debated on sanctions and they are attacking us. There was no attack.
“We must be an institution of integrity and I think we are really making our ministers appear foolish at the end of the day. If the British are out of order Madam Speaker, the Ambassador is called by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to put them in order – that is how we work in terms of diplomatic ties.
Mliswa also answers on why Zanu PF MPs were interested in travelling to the UK.
“Ndimi munoenda kunyika kwavo. Munoendako kunoitei? (You are the ones who travel to their country. For what reason?” the vocal MP queried.
In response, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the government was engaging the British on the democratic processes Zimbabwe had achieved and done.
“There are certain issues they wanted to be clarified and we are doing so,” he said.
“We addressed the question and there is a desire on both parties to engage. We do not debate on the issues debated in the House of Commons. This case is closed. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is handling the matter.”