Perpetrators of the weekend violence that rocked Parliament Building — where legislators and journalists were assaulted during public hearings on the Human Rights Commission Bill — must face the full wrath of the law, charged with contempt of Parliament, political analysts said yesterday.
They said letting the elements go scot-free would set a dangerous precedent — tantamount to leaving the country at the mercy of political hooligans.
Political analyst John Makumbe said the Constitution of Zimbabwe had provisions to charge hooligans who disrupted proceedings in Parliament and the law could be applied to both members of the public and House of Assembly.
“The current Constitution has a provision for charges to be made for contempt of Parliament, which can result in imprisonment for three months, or a fine, or even both imprisonment and a fine — that is why then MDC-T MP Roy Bennett was charged with contempt of Parliament and jailed,” said Makumbe.
“Even in other political realms like Eastern Europe, the United States of America and Western Europe, people who are found guilty of contempt of Parliament can be sentenced for anything up to one month or get reprimanded,” he said.
Another political analyst, Charles Mangongera, accused Zanu PF of being behind the violence, saying they feared skeletons in their closet.
“That is why in the Human Rights Commission Bill being brought to Parliament by Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, they (Zanu PF) put in demarcations to say issues of human rights and national healing should not be discussed after a period of three years because they fear if this commission does its work independently, they are going to be exposed,” said Mangongera.
He said it was most disgraceful for any section of Zimbabweans to disregard an institution like Parliament.
“It just shows the level of political desperation Zanu PF has sunk to because such barbaric behaviour is only expected of Stone Age people.
“We are supposed to have a government of national unity, but such behaviour raises questions about the moral fabric of the country, because if Parliament is not respected and MPs are beaten up, my grandmother in Chivhu is also not safe,” he said.
Another political analyst, Lovemore Madhuku, echoed the same sentiments, but also blamed parliamentarians for failing to put their foot down.