BY VENERANDA LANGA
OPPOSITION MPs yesterday labelled the Zanu PF government as the worst human rights abuser in the country.
This emerged during a debate on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) report on the state of human rights for the year 2017.
The ZHRC report was debated in the National Assembly and listed a number of human rights infractions by government during former President Robert Mugabe’s era.
Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC Alliance) castigated the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, saying it was failing to observe human rights given the arbitrary arrests of opposition supporters, including legislators Joanah Mamombe (Harare West) and Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), as well as failure to tackle acute poverty and joblessness, which were affecting the nation.
“Poverty in Zimbabwe has increased and we hear of vision 2030 and that the country will be a middle-income one, but how can that be possible when the people are living in abject poverty and in 10 years? We are told we can move from poverty to a middle-income country,” Madzimure said.
“Infrastructure is decaying and in January, we decided to close the internet and infringe the right to access to information. For a country to move to the next level, we need to get rid of bad governance and arbitrary arrests.”
Zanu PF legislators interjected fiercely as Madzimure made his contributions.
This resulted in Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) raising a point of order to say that they were disrupting debate because they (Zanu PF) were the worst human rights abusers.
“It is important to have a human face. The issue of one having been incarcerated and freed is something human, and for some of you to make noise is because you are the ones that incarcerate, but for some of us, we are the incarcerated. There is no smoke without fire and when you see them heckling, it is because they are the biggest human rights violators,” Mliswa said.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) said the ZHRC report highlighted that opposition parties continued to struggle to offer solutions to alleviate the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, adding that their observation was correct.
“It is a blame that we take as MDC, but we tried and came up with the SMART document as an alternative, and our president Nelson Chamisa gave five propositions to Mnangagwa which included resolving the issue of legitimacy, proposals on the economy and re-engagement, national healing and issues of reforms, including electoral reforms and the Judiciary,” he said.
Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo (NPF) said failure by political parties to dialogue and unite was an infringement on human rights.
Hurungwe Central MP Doubt Ndiweni (Zanu PF) said sanctions were denying Zimbabweans human rights such as access to education.
Nkulumane legislator Kucaca Phulu (MDC Alliance) said in order for the ZHRC to be effective, there was need for the commission to be adequately funded and all statutes to be aligned to the Constitution.
Proportional representation legislator Lynette Karenyi (MDC Alliance) deplored the inhumane prison conditions in the country, saying female prisoners were severely affected by the uninhabitable conditions.