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MDC-T Lawmakers Walk Out of Parly Over 'Abducted' Political Activist Itai Dzamara

FILE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (R) delivers his first speech as Prime Minister at the Zimbabwean parliament in Harare, March 4, 2009.

Lawmakers of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai stormed out of parliament on Thursday after acting Speaker of Parliament, Reuben Marumahoko, blocked Kuwadzana East legislator Nelson Chamisa from introducing a motion to discuss the alleged abduction of Occupy Africa Unity Square leader and pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara early this week.

Mkoba lawmaker Amos Chibaya attracted the ire of the acting speaker when he led his colleagues in singing a song denouncing the system after Marumahoko refused to give Chamisa’s motion the nod. He was ejected from the House shortly afterwards and members of his party stormed out in protest.

Chamisa’s said Dzamara’s disappearance was an issue of national concern hence his motion. He said he was disappointed by the acting speaker’s decision to postpone the motion to next Tuesday.

Earlier Marumahoko had said the matter had been adequately answered yesterday when Justice Minister and Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Dzamara’s abductors would be brought to book. Mnangagwa was responding to questions from lawmakers.

Chamisa said parliament cannot conduct business as usual when Dzamara has not been accounted for.

MDC -T chief whip Innocent Gonese addressed his colleagues after the walkout. He said given past cases of political violence where activists were abducted and found dead later, Dzamara’s case was of national importance and should be discussed in Parliament.

Dzamara was abducted by suspected state security agents on Monday and there has been no word about his whereabouts since.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba says the police are investigating Dzamara’s alleged kidnapping but she did not have any fresh information today. Pressure has been mounting on Harare to find Dzamara or to release him if he’s being held by state security agents. The civil society has also been calling for his immediate release.

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