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Zanu PF abuses Parly majority

Local News
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda

ZANU PF has started abusing its Parliament majority, with Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and his deputy Tsitsi Gezi taking turns to stifle debate on pertinent issues raised by opposition members.

Mudenda last week blocked debate in the National Assembly on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rant against neighbouring Zambia during a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Mnangagwa, during the meeting with Putin at Konstantino Palace, criticised Zambia’s relations withWestern countries.

He told Putin that Zambia had become a regional security threat because of its close ties with the United States after it allegedly allowed the setting up of the US Africa Command base in Lusaka.

Mnangagwa accused Zambia of subtly entertaining the West’s alleged machinations to isolate Zimbabwe from her neighbours.

He cited military relations between Washington and Lusaka as a cause for concern while pleading for defence and food security support from Putin.

The matter spilled into Parliament last week on Tuesday, but Mudenda blocked its discussion saying foreign relations were a “no-go area” for the Legislature.

On Tuesday this week, Gezi also blocked debate in the National Assembly on opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party activists who were arrested on Sunday at their interim leader Jameson Timba’s house in Avondale, Harare.

Budiriro South legislator Darlington Chigumbu (CCC) had sought to raise a point of national interest regarding the arrest of Zimbabwean citizens who had gathered for the private meeting.

He expressed concern over the inhuman treatment allegedly faced by the arrested activists.

However, Gezi interjected and ruled against the discussion saying matters related to arrests could not be debated in the House.

She advised Chigumbu to submit his questions to the relevant minister during the designated question time

“If it is in connection with the arrest of people, we cannot discuss that in this House. You can ask the minister concerned tomorrow during question time if you have got some issues. We cannot discuss those issues and I cannot give a ruling on the arrest of citizens in this country,” Gezi said.

In an interview yesterday, political analyst Ruben Mbofana bemoaned lack of a vibrant opposition in Parliament, leading to Mudenda and Gezi’s decisions going unchallenged.

“I think this speaks volumes to how we no longer have a meaningful opposition within Parliament and the country in general. In a functional democracy, the ruling establishment would not be allowed to get away with not being held accountable in the manner we witness in Zimbabwe,” Mbofana said.

“The role of any opposition is to hold the government in power accountable to the people. Right now, unfortunately, we don’t have that in Zimbabwe. As such, the ruling party can do pretty much what it wants without anyone calling it out, particularly in Parliament.”

He said the situation posed a huge danger to Zimbabwe’s democracy.

“We cannot have a government that arrests opposition members and even brutalises them without being made to answer. We also cannot simply allow the head of State to make reckless statements in foreign lands about our neighbours   with the real danger of creating tensions between Zambia and Zimbabwe   without him being questioned by Zimbabweans,” Mbofana said.

Timba and the 78 CCC activists had visible scars of torture when they appeared in court on Tuesday.

They were arrested on Sunday at Timba’s house, where they were commemorating the Day of the African Child, according to party officials.

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