THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice was yesterday forced to abort its public hearings in Marondera after opposition activists allegedly turned rowdy, accusing the panellists of being biased in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.
BY Jairos Saunyama
The Ziyambi Ziyambi-led committee was in the Mashonaland East provincial capital soliciting public views on the proposed Constitutional Amendment (Number 1) Bill, which seeks to give the President sweeping powers to appoint the country’s three top judicial officers.
Chaos broke out after the MDC-T and other opposition party supporters accused the panel of only entertaining views from ruling party activists.
Marondera Central MP, Lawrence Katsiru (Zanu PF), unsuccessfully tried to calm down the angry crowd, before he pleaded with Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese (MDC-T), to call his party supporters to order, but all in vain as tempers continued to flare.
Ziyambi and his team then declared the meeting aborted and fled the scene after MDC-T and Zanu PF supporters resorted to name-calling and sloganeering, as they pushed and shoved each other.
Ziyambi later addressed the media, accusing MDC-T supporters of deliberately disrupting the meeting.
“The challenge here is that there are some people, who came to disrupt the public hearings. After hearing views from a few people, some MDC-T supporters became rowdy. Unfortunately, there were no police officers to help us control the crowd and we had to abort the proceedings,” he said.
Meanwhile, NewsDay later observed some participants writing their views on pieces of paper and submitting them to Parliament officials.