HomeNewsOpposition MPs walk out of Parly over Dzamara disappearance

Opposition MPs walk out of Parly over Dzamara disappearance

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OPPOSITION MDC-T and MDC MPs yesterday walked out of Parliament in solidarity with their comrade Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya who had been chucked out of the House for disorderly conduct by acting Speaker of the National Assembly Reuben Marumahoko.

BY OUR STAFF REPORTERS

Chibaya was ordered out of the House after he kept demanding that legislators should continue debating the alleged abduction of journalist and human rights activist Itai Dzamara by suspected State security agents in Harare on Monday.

The fracas started when Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) demanded that all business of the House should be suspended to discuss a matter of public importance in terms of Parliamentary Standing Orders 30 (1) read together with 38 (1) which allows MPs to move for adjournment of the House for purposes of discussing any matter of national importance.

“This matter of public importance is with regards section 52 of the Constitution regarding security of persons in Zimbabwe in the context of matters relating to the disappearance, abduction or arrest of journalist Dzamara,” Chamisa said.

Marumahoko immediately objected saying Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa had already responded to the issue the previous day.
But MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese interjected saying: “It is important for MPs to represent the people of Zimbabwe and debate this issue.”

Zanu PF legislator for Zvishavane John Holder raised a point of order saying the issue could not be further debated as it would jeopardise investigations.

The opposition legislators started singing Dzamara amai mwana (Bring back Dzamara) when Marumahoko closed debate over the issue before he ordered Chibaya to leave the House after he remained defiant.

As Chibaya walked out, he was joined by his colleagues from the opposition side who went out singing. Zanu PF MPs remained in the House and continued debating other motions.

Dzamara was allegedly abducted by five unidentified men travelling in an unmarked Isuzu pick-up truck in Harare on Monday and his whereabouts are still unknown.

Mnangagwa on Wednesday said government was investigating the motive behind the abduction.

The abduction has been widely condemned by local and international rights groups and foreign missions among the Canadian and United States embassies and the European Union.

“Civil society has every reason to think that the State is complacent with such abductions as shown by the abduction and disappearance of human rights defender Jestina Mukoko in December 2008 who was eventually brought to Matapi Police Station in Mbare after 21 days and the perpetrators never apprehended,” a statement by the civil society organisations – signed by more than 20 organisations – read.

Mukoko, a victim of State abductions in 2008, yesterday told journalists her own experience was frightening and caused “untold suffering” for her and her family.

Meanwhile, police yesterday barricaded the MDC-T headquarters in Harare blocking dozens of party workers from reporting for duty. The previous day, police raided Harvest House and allegedly severely assaulted 11 activists including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka.

A police truck was parked at the entrance of the party headquarters for the whole day while armed police officers stood guard close to the entrance.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “The Zanu PF regime is suffering from a siege mentality. There is absolutely no reason why they should waste scarce State resources by deploying a whole battalion of the riot police at Harvest House.”

Tamborinyoka said his boss was disturbed by the development and challenged Mugabe, who is the Africa Union and Sadc chairman, to act and stop the “nonsense”.

“We were about to go home when about 11 of us where dragged back into the office. I was beaten up by the police who wanted us to release their helmet and baton sticks, but I told them that we were officials and did not know what had happened outside. They did not listen to us,” Tamborinyoka said.

Dzamara’s brother Partson said that there was no information on Itai’s whereabouts as the lawyers had failed to locate him at Harare Central Police Station where he was initially believed to be detained.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she could not comment as she was in a meeting.

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