By Staff Reporter
HOME Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and Zanu PF MPs Monday seemed to be protecting their fellow allies during a heated parliamentary hearing on machete-wielding gangs.
While giving oral evidence to the committee, Kazembe made a U-turn relating to specified information on politicians alleged to be sponsoring the terror gangs who have since murdered 35 people between 2019 and the first two months of 2020.
The minister denied having made a statement earlier during the committee hearing where he alluded to fact that rich people were involved in sponsoring machete gangs.
In his revised statement, Kazembe said it was only speculation or suggestions without evidence after being pressured by MDC committee members, to name suspected funders of the gangs.
“I did not say there are confirmed sponsors. I said the way some of the gangs behave or are operating suggests that they are being sponsored by those with a heavy muscle,” he said.
“I am not saying it has been confirmed. Please do not misquote me even though it is happening. We have had some MPs who were arrested recently. We will get rid of all the cartels involved in the machete gang operations,” Kazembe said.
The hearing later became heated as Zanu PF MPs sided with the minister while MDC MPs demanded answers from Kazembe before the chairperson of the joint committees Zanu PF MP, Edmond Mkaratigwa reminded the legislators not to be political, but to respect political parties and their members.
MDC Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele was almost booted out of the committee hearing after Zanu PF MPs became angry over remarks he made suggesting some ruling party officials were sponsoring the machete gangs.
“Why have we seen only arrests of poor people yet barons in the ruling party are left out yet they control these machete gangs?” Ndebele said.
However, Ndebele could not finish questioning the minister before he was jeered by Zanu PF committee members who also called for his removal from the hearing.
“Talk about your MDC party. Who is (Nelson) Chamisa? Do not talk about Zanu PF in this meeting. Withdraw your statement. After all, you are not properly dressed. Where is your tie? Chase him out chair, why are you not sending him out? Who is he?” a Zanu PF MP shouted.
Mkaratigwa gave Ndebele a final warning for not dressing properly.
At one point, the chairperson also ordered Harare Central MP Murisi Zvizvai to stop disrupting proceedings and describing the machete gangs as “Mashurugwi”. Mkaratigwa also advised the minister not to respond to some of questions from opposition MPs if he felt uncomfortable in answering.
“Honourable Zvizvai, with all due respect, you are being disruptive. Honourable (Minister), you can respond, but cannot respond and you are welcome if you do not feel comfortable to respond,” Mkaratigwa said.
Meanwhile, Minister Kazembe has warned people to desist from abusing the word “Mashurugwi” saying not all people involved in the killings, rape and assaults were from Shurugwi.
MDC leader, Chamisa has in the past accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being the “archbishop” of the machete gangs.