The violence that rocked Parliament Building during a public hearing on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill has split Zanu PF down the middle, with party stalwarts condemning the attack on MPs and journalists.
The condemnation, however, contradicted Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, who recently vowed the former ruling party would defend the violent party activists “even if it means hiring lawyers for them”.
Yesterday, the Zanu PF secretary for the women’s league, Oppah Muchinguri, deplored the disturbances, saying: “We condemn violence. It doesn’t matter who is doing it. Women are not supposed to be involved in violence.”
Muchinguri, the Zanu PF representative on the GPA monitoring organ, Jomic, said instead, women should be peace builders and not instigators or perpetrators of violence.
“They say, if you educate a woman you would have educated a whole community. We should preach peace. Women must not be violent,” she said.
“We are supposed to be peace builders. It’s not part of our culture for women to be violent. We are supposed to be role models.”
She added: “We agreed in the GPA that if (at all) we engaged in violence (in the past), we must now stop, so we can have peace and economic stability. If someone has other ideas, we should respect that.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo also said it was not the party’s policy to allow its supporters to interfere with parliamentary proceedings.
Gumbo said Parliament should submit a report to Zanu PF for the party to know what exactly transpired at the august House.
“We have not been given a report of what happened because we were not there. Parliament should send us a report so we can look at it,” Gumbo said.
“The party’s position is that Parliament is supposed to do its job as Parliament. We as a party do not supervise Parliament. They have their own security who should deal with those problems.”
But, Mutasa sided with the party apparatchiks who turned violent last month during the hearings, attacking MPs and journalists and threatening others.
“We will defend them,” Mutasa told NewsDay last week. “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?”
Two weeks ago, Zanu PF activists 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 and Financial Gazette reporters Nqaba Matshazi and Levi Mukarati respectively.
Another group outside Parliament went for NewsDay photojournalist Aaron Ufumeli.