Extracted from Parliament Hansard 15/06/2017
HON. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to contribute to this debate which was moved by Hon. Mandipaka in terms of the political parties’ perpetration of acts of violence in our nation and I repeat, strongly condemn political parties perpetrating acts of violence in our nation.
All political parties are responsible for the violence in this country; ZANU PF included, MDC included. I say so because in my debate, I will clearly say that charity begins at home. The violence you see perpetrated by the young people in the streets starts at home. When I talk about home, I talk about the political parties that they belong to. You cannot exonerate any political party from this. It has become a culture. Any politician believes that they must have an army; they must have a riot squad to go and deal with somebody who wants to contest or anything. I say so with my history of having been a provincial chairperson of the ruling party.
The critical issue to understand is – what are political parties doing to ensure that there is tolerance amongst themselves? I will give examples. MDC – when Elton Mangoma left, he was beaten up at Harvest House. This is there is in the public domain and I did not hear a statement from the leadership of the party admonishing that if there is anything, they were equally part of it.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. There were people who were arrested who are members of the Movement for Democratic Change. They were tried and acquitted. In that regard, we need to come to the assault which the Hon. Member is referring to. The truth of the matter is that the persons who were alleged to have assaulted Hon. Mangoma were acquitted by a court of law. At the end of the day, you cannot visit that violence on the doorsteps of the Movement for Democratic Change – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
I think it is important to put it in that context. So, it is not proper for the Hon. Member to impute to the MDC responsibility for that particular act of violence. If he wants to give examples, he must not give examples whereby he makes reference to inaccurate information. It is now in the public domain that a court of law acquitted the Hon. Members. James Chidhakwa was acquitted by a court of law. He was not found guilty of any offence. My point is that Hon. Mliswa must not say that the MDC was supposed to make a statement because MDC was not responsible for the violence. That is my point of order. He must not make that submission that MDC should have
HON. MLISWA: Before even the Speaker rules, I have absolutely have no qualms in withdrawing. I withdraw. I will withdraw by proffering a very good example of a Glen View incident where a policeman was killed by MDC who are in jail – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – They were convicted and they are serving sentence right now…..
HON. GONESE: Another point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: No. No. No.
HON. GONESE: There is an appeal and the …..
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have not recognised you.
HON. GONESE: There is an appeal and the matter is now subjudice
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have not recognised you.
HON. GONESE: I can sight our Standing Orders Mr. Speaker where it says that we must not make reference to matters which are subjudice…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have not recognised you.
Hon. Gonese approached the Chair.
HON. GONESE: My point of order is that this matter is subject to an appeal and therefore, it is subjudice. Our Standing Orders are very specific; that were matters are under consideration by our courts of law, we cannot make reference to them because they are subjudice. The appeal has been duly noted and it is pending before the Supreme Court.
HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with Hon. Gonese that the Standing Orders are very clear pertaining to issues before the courts. It does not specify that, ‘under appeal before the courts’. He was convicted before the courts. In being convicted before the courts, he must be very specific which Standing Order then said appeal. Appeal does not set aside the judgment because they are still in there. It is the same thing with the Kereke situation. Kereke has been convicted, he is in prison and he has appealed. He is not sitting in Parliament because the court is yet to hear that and that is what it is. That is what I understand about the law.
I want to be very clear about that….
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: On a point of order, this is a very important debate. I am making a supplication to your Hon. Chair that if we may make sure that there is quorum because we need all the members to be here – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We want to see if there is quorum. We want all members to be here. This is very important.
Hon. Adv. Chamisa having consulted with Hon. Gonese.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker, I am the mover of this motion and I want to withdraw it in the interest of our business so that we are able to transact – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MLISWA: These issues are important and let me on that note, commend Hon. Chamisa who has been visiting the MDC convicted people in prison. I thank you for that because they find solace in that. I have seen him on social media commenting. I think it is very important that as political parties when we allow people to be violent, we also visit them in prison. That only shows that you are human.
On a more serious note, Hon. Chamisa, you have ….
HON. S. CHIDHAKWA: On a point of order, I just want to remind the Hon. Member here that when he is debating, he must also take into cognisance that he is also one of the perpetrators because at one point he beat Hon. Mahoka.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.
HON. MLISWA: I went before the courts and I was acquitted. I do not know if you know of any other court that convicted me.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can you continue with your debate?
HON. MLISWA: I was acquitted because I was not there. On a more serious note, I seriously want to commend Hon. Chamisa. I follow him on tweeter and I think it was very good of you to be able to do that but next time, find others from ZANU PF who are there so that you can also give solace to them as a lawyer – [AN HON. MEMBER: And pray for them.] –
I was to talk about Ambassador Stevenson situation where we all know that there was a machete which was brought out because she disagreed with MDC on her thoughts. As a result, she went to join Prof. Welshman Ncube’s MDC. These are examples which I am giving which we have done nothing about as political parties to address. This issue is serious because we are going towards elections. What happens is that it seems to be a training ground for people to exercise beating each other for the grand finale which is the election. Unfortunately, there is not much being done by the political parties to address this. If there is anything, more is happening.
I will also talk on the other side, ZANU PF. Just recently…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you stick to the motion of the debate?
HON. MLISWA: No, the motion is very clear. I am on strongly condemning political parties perpetrating acts of violence. These are parties that I am taking about. I am within that Mr. Speaker Sir.
I also want to talk about ZANU PF where in Bulawayo, Lacoste and G40; even the Vice President himself was involved. So, if you are having a leader at that level getting involved in violence, even going to the police station, where are we going as a country? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, to me you have a situation where it is political parties – moreso ZANU PF is the party that is actually governing the country, they should lead by example. If I go through the Constitution here, it is very clear as to the functions of the Commissioner General, the functions of the police. It does not talk about the Vice President being in charge of the police but it talks about the President appointing the Commissioner General, in consultation with the Minister.
The Vice President has got the power to send the Minister to go and check but he decides to go himself. What message are we sending to the nation because he belongs to a faction within the party that has been beaten up and he is now going to defend them? It is totally unacceptable and I think it is important that we have leaders who lead by example.
What is then happening is that these young people end up being more violent, because they are getting protection from the Presidium. So, if you are getting protection from the Presidium, why should I stop fighting? I speak with so much passion because I see us dividing our nation because of the political interest that we have. It is not the first time, if you go through the Constitution, it is very clear about the role of the police – Section 219 (3), the police service must be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to civilian authority as establish by this Constitution. So, you are now getting the police to be partisan when they should be non-partisan because they work on instructions. When they see the Vice President they have no choice but to salute and take the instruction, but is that what the Constitution says?
So, we have leaders violating the Constitution everyday and breeding this ground for these young people to be violent. They go out there to go and destroy peoples’ properties when demonstration are there, knowing that they are protected by the Presidium. To me, we must not mince our words when we come to this situation because the act of violence in political parties, intra party can also affect any of you especially on the ZANU PF side, where the factions are even more dominant than any other party.
They are now using violence to be able to dictate who is more powerful. I saw it myself when I was the provincial chairman when the Hon. Minister of Defence, Sekeramayi’s wife was beaten up at the ZANU PF Headquarters by ZANU PF youths – [HON. MEMBERS: Ahh.] – because of the factions because people believed that Cde. Sekeramayi was Gamatox and the wife was beaten up. How would you allow honestly, a Minister to have his wife beaten up and the party does not even issue a statement? It means you are giving a go ahead for these young people to be violent.
I equally saw it in Hurungwe West where the Human Rights Commission report is very clear about the acts of violence, which pains me because these are the people that I served. Innocently because of their will and their right to exercise their vote, they were beaten up. Why beat up a person because you differ from their opinion? Is this the nation that we want to build? Are we here because of the will of the people or we are here because of violence? It is a question I ask every legislature in here. From the primary elections that you underwent did you every the youths to beat anybody, if they did may the good Lord forgive you. It is important that we exercise this from our political parties, because this aspect of violence is growing and while it is growing it needs to be curbed.
We have innocent people who are running their businesses in these hard times having their properties being destroyed, goods being looted. They took loans and now they cannot pay back the loans and we still are not strong on it. The police from what I know of them will never act until they are given instructions to act, especially when it is a so called political matter. They will tell you we are waiting for a directive. They have taken off to be able to practice and what I am saying is that the hierarchy in the police must understand that the many people from all political parties who have suffered violence, some have died, is something that will haunt them for the rest of their lives, because the Commissioner General of police must be able to leave that office one day to say that I discharged my duties professionally I am in accordance with the Constitution of the country. My question is will he be able to respond to that affirmatively.
It is important Mr. Speaker that the police must work with the community as they say. There must be no barrier whatsoever, but a barrier has been created and while has been created, there is now animosity between the police and the public which then makes people paint a picture and label the police to be partisan rather being non partisan. I think Commissioner General Chihuri is a war veteran who will respect – he went to war to liberate this country and to me I think it is equally important for him to enjoy the fruits, but at the time sticking to the founding principles of the struggle.
They went through the Smith regime – because of oppression and because of the violence that was there and I think his quest to be in the struggle was to see a free Zimbabwe where people enjoy, where they is law and order. I think there is the aspect of minimum force, the police is empowered to use minimum force, but you know – what is minimum force? We saw the war veterans being tear-gassed. Was it really necessary for the police to tear gas the war veterans who are innocent and cannot even run? So, to me already you are actually provoking society to respond and society responds by being violent because you were violent. Do we not have police officers? The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission recommends that police officers must continuously go through training so that they are up with the modern trends of policing in the whole world. Without them being given those refresher courses, they will always not be there. We see a situation where resources which are meant to really work against those who are not…
Hon. Speaker, I want to thank you for this opportunity to debate and I think it is equally important that we all observe tolerance as a nation, we all respect each other. There is no point in us being violent because the seed that we are planting in our political parties is slowly manifesting and it will harm us. I thank you.