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South Africa condemns Parliament violence

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Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis South African President Jacob Zuma has condemned the violence which rocked Parliament recently, saying it heightened tensions and complicated issues ahead of next month’s summit in Angola.

A mob of Zanu PF supporters stormed Parliament Building on Saturday and disrupted a public hearing on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill.

Zuma’s international relations advisor and spokesperson of the facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, said her principal and other regional leaders wanted to see progress in Zimbabwe after investing a lot of time brokering peace.

Zulu said the assault of legislators and journalists in Parliament had angered the facilitators because all the parties to the GPA had pledged to end violence and implement the agreement which gave birth to Zimbabwe’s inclusive government.

“Our principal wants to go to Angola (for the next Sadc summit next month) with some progress.
“We have been to Livingstone, Windhoek and Sandton among other summits (discussing Zimbabwe), so there has to be progress. There has to be progress, we don’t want to remain fixed on the same issues,” said Zulu.

“. . . The violence is a cause for concern. Any violence coming from any quarter is a worry to the facilitator (Zuma) and Sadc. Sadc leaders have been calling for an end to violence and the implementation of the GPA and it does not matter where the violence is coming from, it should not be tolerated.”

The violence that rocked Parliament has been roundly condemned by other political parties in the inclusive government, with MPs and civic society calling for stiffer penalties against the perpetrators. The Speaker of the House

of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, on Tuesday said he was worried by the lack of security at Parliament Building after the violent mob invaded the House and attacked MPs during a public hearing last Saturday.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora condemned the violence and called on Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to resign.
The development came as it emerged the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) refused to meet the facilitation team last week, insisting it puts its request in writing.

Zuma is also understood to be livid over Zanu PF’s intransigence and refusal to stick to the GPA and fulfil outstanding issues.

Some of the outstanding matters include security sector reforms, unilateral appointments of senior government officials, appointment of the Reserve Bank governor and Attorney-General, the new constitution, and swearing in of Deputy Agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett, among others.

Despite these outstanding issues, President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party insist Zimbabwe will hold elections this year with or without a new constitution as prescribed by the GPA, as well as continuing to make arbitrary appointments of senior government officials without Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s input.

However, Zulu yesterday said her team would continue playing its role to ensure the GPA is implemented, adding her team was hoping to meet the GPA negotiators soon to iron out the election roadmap timelines and concerns raised by the political parties during the team’s visit last week.

The facilitation team also met the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Copac and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, who are seen as critical players in deciding when elections would be held, but failed to meet the ZMC.
The ZMC reportedly insisted the facilitation team should formally write to it and the Media, Information and Publicity ministry requesting the meeting. ZMC chairperson Godfrey Majonga refused to comment on the matter yesterday.

But, Zulu confirmed the snub although she opted to water it down. “We don’t have a problem with their stance and we respect the procedures which they want us to follow. We should be able to meet them when we come to Harare for the next meetings.”
The election roadmap identifies media reforms as one of the key issues to ensuring a free and fair election.

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