Zanu PF says it will defend its supporters who violently disrupted the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill hearings at Parliament Building, beating up an MP and assaulting journalists on Saturday last week.
The party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, yesterday said the former liberation war movement would defend its supporters, at the centre of the storm for assaulting and harassing MPs and journalists during the public hearing.
Mutasa, who is also Presidential Affairs minister, said should the Zanu PF supporters be arrested, the party would hire lawyers on their behalf to defend them.
“We will defend them,” Mutasa told NewsDay. “They are our members.”
He said those who were beaten up must have provoked the Zanu PF activists.
“Is it possible for someone to just leave their homes to go and beat up people at Parliament without being provoked?” Mutasa queried. “Why did they not beat up any other persons who were at Parliament?”
He said journalists should properly investigate to establish the reasons behind the alleged assaults and harassment instead of scratching on the surface.
Last Saturday, Zanu PF supporters stormed the august House, chanting the party’s liberation war songs and slogans and beat up journalists and an MP before intimidating the chairman of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, Zaka Senator Misheck Marava.
The mob manhandled and assaulted Hwange Central MP Brian Tshuma (MDC-T) and almost mistakenly beat up their own, Makonde MP Rusipa Kapesa (Zanu PF), before pouncing on Standard reporter Nqaba Matshazi and Financial Gazette reporter Levi Mukarati. Another group outside Parliament went for NewsDay photojournalist Aaron Ufumeli.
Human rights campaigners, Parliament and other political parties in the inclusive government are clamouring for the arrest of the Zanu PF apparatchiks, but the police have remained mum on the matter.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo on
Tuesday also called for the arrest of the Zanu PF activists, saying: “As the Speaker of Parliament, I am also greatly concerned with the lack of security to such an extent Honourable Members of Parliament are beaten up and harassed at their own workplace.”
Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis South African President Jacob Zuma has condemned the violence that rocked Parliament saying it heightened tensions and complicated issues ahead of next month’s summit in Angola.
“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,” Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu said.