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Zimbabwe Parliament Probes Assault of Legislators by Alleged Mugabe Militants

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Legislators and journalists attending a hearing on the Human Rights Commission Bill were assaulted by a mob of more than 100 people chanting revolutionary songs and ZANU-PF party slogans

Zimbabwe's Parliament opened an investigation Monday into the violent intrusion into the House on Saturday by alleged militants of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party who disrupted a hearing on enabling legislation for a human rights commission.

House Speaker Lovemore Moyo held meetings with Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma, Chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice, the police detail in charge of parliamentary security and the Central Intelligence Organization.

Moyo was expected to make his findings public in a news conference Tuesday.

Legislators and journalists attending the hearing on the Human Rights Commission Bill were assaulted by a mob of more than 100 people chanting revolutionary songs and ZANU-PF slogans who began assaulting committee members and others.

Member of Parliament Brian Tshuma of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was said to have sustained significant injuries. Sources said Tshuma was also robbed of his mobile phone and money.

Both formations of the MDC and political commentators condemned Saturday’s incident, calling on police to prosecute those responsible.

Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC wing headed by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that failing to bring the perpetrators of the attack in Parliament to justice would set a bad precedent.

The Tsvangirai MDC went a step further and demanded that Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri resign for failing to arrest those responsible.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo refused to comment, saying only: “I wasn’t involved in the fiasco, so I wouldn’t want to comment.”

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube said the attack in Parliament clearly paints ZANU-PF as a violent political party. "These people are against anything that seeks to protect human rights in Zimbabwe because they are guilty of rights abuses," Ncube said.

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