A parliamentary portfolio committee was yesterday forced to abort its public hearing on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill in Masvingo after it was disrupted by a group of suspected Zanu PF supporters.
The public hearing had been organised by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights.
The hearing was being held at the Civic Centre.
Halfway into the meeting, tempers flared after Zaka Senator Misheck Marava was heckled as he read out the Bill.
A suspected Zanu PF supporter interjected and demanded that he read the Bill in a vernacular language, Shona.
“You should read the Bill in Shona, not in English. You are furthering Western interests,” the Zanu PF supporter said, amid wild cheers from party colleagues.
While Marava (MDC-T) was looking for an interpreter, the rowdy group broke into song and dance, singing the Zanu PF political jingle Zanu Yaramba Zvamadhisinyongoro.
As the drama unfolded, Zanu PF Chivi-Mwenezi Senator Josaya Hungwe was all smiles, an indication the former ruling party had pre-arranged to disrupt the whole process, as happened in Chinhoyi on Monday.
When the senators were about to leave, the mob blocked them from getting into their parliamentary bus. It took the effort of other participants to let them board the bus.
Later, the mob stopped private media journalists from interviewing Hungwe and Marava, with Zanu PF special interest councillor Namatirai Chivhanga reportedly inciting the youths to beat up the reporters.
“These are the journalists who write lies. The dreadlocked one is from the Daily News, beat him up, he should get his lesson,” she said, as the youths advanced on Daily News correspondent Godfrey Mtimba.
A known war veteran pocked Mtimba, who later fled the scene for security reasons.
But, Marava protested: “Such hooliganism is unacceptable as this is an important Bill. Like what happened in Chinhoyi, it shows that this disruption was planned. It is so sad that people can go to such heights.”
Political analyst Takavafira Zhou said:
“They (Zanu PF) are worst offenders of human rights. Zanu PF knows the Bill will nail them for their role in the Gukurahundi massacres as well as the violence during elections.”
Other high-profile politicians present included Gutu Senator Empire Makamure, as well as Retired Colonel Claudius Makova.