Zanu PF MPs heckle MDC MP in parly complaint over state crackdown

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By Anna Chibamu

ZANU PF MPs Tuesday heckled MDC legislator Innocent Gonese as he tried to raise a formal complaint through the house against an ongoing state crackdown on those accused of taking part in recent anti-government protests which led to the killing of 12 by security forces.

Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday after having closed for the festive season.

However, its first session this year was spoiled by disorderly MPs from the ruling party who interrupted the Mutare Central MP as he tried to take up the matter with parliament.

Gonese however ignored the clamour and went on to castigate government for failure to abide by the country’s constitution through unleashing the military to perform policing duties leading to fatalities and injuries.

“In terms of the Section 119, it is very clear that this August House has the responsibility to ensure that the provisions of the constitution are followed.

“It is our responsibility as duly elected representatives of the people of Zimbabwe that all institutions and agencies of the state abide by the constitution.

“The deployment of the defence forces in the past two weeks is a cause for concern to parliament and the people of this country.

“Parliament should have been called to pass a Bill to have the defence forces deployed.”

Gonese added, “The deployment of the defence forces and lack of accountability by government are unconstitutional.

“We have noticed selective application of the law in the past week or so as accused persons are not given the right to fair trial.”

Among those whose rights were being violated, Gonese said, were party MPs Amos Chibaya, Levi Chiminya and Settlement Chikwinya who have been denied bail by the courts.

Deputy Speaker Tsitsi Gezi promised to look into the issues raised by Gonese this week.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has come under fire for its violent crackdown on protesters who were angered by a rcent hike in fuel prices by more than double.

Speaking to journalists during his recent visit to Russia, Mnangagwa defended the military crackdown on civilians.

However, this has backfired as cases of death, torture and rape have widely been exposed via international media with the country’s leader later saying the abuses were “unacceptable”.