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Zimbabwe Speaker Condemns Intrusion Into House by Alleged ZANU-PF Militants


Speaking for the first time Tuesday since the disruption of the House, Moyo said the disturbances risked reversing parliamentary reforms in 1997 that made the parliament and its proceedings more accessible to the public

Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday described the violent intrusion into the House on Saturday by a mob of alleged ZANU-PF supporters as “disrespectful and contemptuous,” calling on the police to arrest those responsible.

The suspected ZANU-PF youths assaulted Movement for Democratic Change legislator Brian Tshuma and two journalists in the incident.

They also roughed up Member of Parliament for Makonde Ripisa Kapesa, but retreated upon being informed that he was a ZANU-PF member.

Speaking for the first time Tuesday since the disruption of the House, Moyo said the disturbances risked reversing parliamentary reforms in 1997 that made the parliament and its proceedings more accessible to the public.

He said he would soon engage President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara about the incident.

Moyo said legislators, journalists and others should be able to conduct business in parliament without fear of violence.

The speaker urged the three governing parties to put aside their political differences and ensure that Parliament can perform its duties without interruption.

He said he was waiting for a police report before taking further action, and urged the police to submit an impartial report on the incident.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo refused to comment on the matter saying the case was still being dealt with by officers of the law.

Violence also caused the abandonment of public hearings on the Human Rights Bill in the provincial cities of Chinhoyi, Masvingo and Mutare.

Sources said the bill was a red flag for ZANU-PF because some want the commission to be empowered to investigate abuses going back to the 1980s when the so-called Gukurahundi purge of Mugabe opponents in Matabeleland occurred.

ZANU-PF party hardliners consider Gukurahundi a closed issue, and suspect investigations into past abuses will target them.

MDC parliamentarian Tshuma, assaulted Saturday, said ZANU-PF doesn’t want investigations of rights violations as it is a major rights offender.

Simba Makoni, leader of the Mavambo/Dawn/Kusile party told VOA Studio 7 reporter Violet Gonda that the violence seen in Parliament on the weekend reflects the extent to which the rule of law has broken down in Zimbabwe.

“That the national parliament could be violated like that in broad daylight and the law enforcement agencies, which are paraded as the best in Africa, failed to control a handful of rabble-rousers shows the depth of decay of our law enforcement and law and order,” Makoni commented.

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