Three Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives and the unidentified Zanu PF MP who recently allegedly threatened Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross with death over the debate he recently initiated in Parliament regarding the nationalisation of Marange diamonds, might find themselves in trouble as their alleged threats are in contravention of Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders.
Cross, the MP for Bulawayo South, yesterday confirmed he would take up the issue before the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, next Tuesday when the House resumes sitting.
The alleged threats emanated from Cross’s recent statements in Parliament where he fingered the army, CIO, police and the Zimbabwe Prison Services as some of the security sectors milking Chiadzwa of diamond resources.
Immediately after his presentation in Parliament, where he claimed he had evidence to support his allegations, the Zanu PF MP allegedly threatened Cross.
The MDC-T MP says he was further threatened by three CIO operatives, while he was travelling with his wife.
The unnamed agents allegedly warned they were watching his movements.
“I am aware that what they did was in breach of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act, which protects MPs from persecution for what they will have said while contributing to debates in Parliament,” Cross said.
“I will speak to the Speaker about the possibility of getting them charged with contempt of Parliament next week when the House resumes sitting.”
Although Cross said he could easily identify the three CIO operatives, he, however, said he was still investigating the identity of the Zanu PF MP who shouted alleged threats to him as he was getting out of Parliament soon after the debate.
“I have the names of the three CIO operatives who threatened me, but I do not have the name of the MP who shouted the threats while I was walking out of the House,” he said.
Specialists in Parliamentary procedure and legal issues, Veritas, this week in their Bill Watch publication said the alleged threats on Cross’s life were in serious breach of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act.
“The context of both incidents (threats) indicate that the threats were prompted by Cross’s speech in the House of Assembly and these facts suggest that serious contempt of Parliament may have been committed,” Veritas said.
According to the Act, it is a criminal offence to threaten an MP over matters debated in Parliament.
Appendix B, paragraph 13 of the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders says such offences include “making any oral or written threat to a member or challenging him or her to fight on account of his or her conduct in Parliament or a committee”.
Such offences can attract a fine of up to $400 or two years imprisonment or both.