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  • Index of articles surrounding the debate of the Domestic Violence Bill

  • MDC suspends MP over Domestic Violence Bill
    Zvamaida Murwira, The Herald (Zimbabwe)
    October 18, 2006

    THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction has suspended Tafara-Mabvuku Member of House of Assembly Mr Timothy Mubawu from its national council over utterances he made recently while debating the Domestic Violence Bill in the House.

    The legislator has also been stripped of his position as director of elections for Harare province over his alleged involvement in the savage attack of Harare North Member of the House of Assembly, Ms Trudy Stevenson, in July this year.

    Mr Mubawu’s statements concerning the Bill have since sparked outrage from several women groups who took to the streets to demonstrate against his remarks.

    During debate a fortnight ago, the lawmaker said the Domestic Violence Bill should not be passed as it was against biblical principles that men were superior to women.

    In two separate letters to Mr Mubawu, the faction’s secretary-general, Mr Tendai Biti, said both cases have been referred to the national disciplinary committee to deal with them.

    On the Domestic Violence Bill, Mr Biti said Mr Mubawu’s statements in the House of Assembly were not consistent with the party’s position regarding the Bill.

    "It is alleged that in a wide-ranging debate, you made remarks that were against the party position of supporting the Bill and more importantly your remarks that undermined the party’s constitution and provisions and position on gender equality, religious tolerance and against feudal bigotry," said Mr Biti in the letter of suspension.

    "It was felt that your conduct fell far short of what is expected of a diligent Member of Parliament of our party and brought the party into disrepute," said Mr Biti, who is also Harare East Member of House of Assembly.

    In suspending Mr Mubawu from the Harare provincial executive, Mr Biti cited the report complied by Advocate Happious Zhou’s commission of inquiry, which cited deep-rooted division in the Tafara-Mabvuku district structure.

    "With immediate effect, the Tafara-Mabvuku district is dissolved and an interim committee will be appointed to run the district until such a time when elections are held within three months from the date of this decision," said Mr Biti.

    "As a result of your own destructive and unhelpful role in the entire saga as fully detailed in the report, the national executive committee has removed and stripped you of your position as the provincial director of elections in the Harare province forthwith."

    The outspoken lawmaker was ordered not to interfere with the Tafara-Mabvuku district structure.

    "Finally, the national executive committee has barred, stopped and interdicted you from subjectively interfering with the Tafara-Mabvuku structures and from trying to influence the forthcoming district elections to be held. The report received in the executive (meeting) is that you had already started trying to influence the said elections. Please be advised that the further pursuance of such an agenda may and will lead to more drastic action."

    When contacted yesterday, Mr Mubawu said he accepted the suspension and would wait for the due process.

    "I will accept my party’s decision to suspend me. I feel that people took my statement out of context. I meant no malice to anybody. I also have a mother, a wife, daughters and I don’t bash them. However, it is my party that has taken that decision and I will abide by it," said Mr Mubawu.

    Mr Biti confirmed the suspension yesterday saying the faction had noted the "seriously feudalistic and primitively patriarchal remarks" made by Mr Mubawu on Wednesday October 4 2006.

    "The party restated its social democratic position and its belief in the values of solidarity, justice, equality, liberation, freedom, transparency, humility, obedience and accountability," said Mr Biti.

    He was, however, silent with regard to recommendations by the committee that the faction’s provincial chairman, Mr Morgan Femai, be investigated for his failure to fulfil his obligations in relation to the attack on Ms Stevenson.

    The committee’s recommendations followed Mr Femai’s testimony before it where he is said to have appeared unperturbed by the attack on the female lawmaker.

    Mr Mubawu incensed women when he said:

    "I stand here representing God, the Almighty. Women are not equal to men. It is a dangerous Bill and let it be known in Zimbabwe that the right, privilege and status of men are gone. I stand here alone and say this Bill should not be passed in this house. It is diabolic. Our powers are being usurped in broad daylight in this House."

    Placard-waving women demonstrators last week said they were shocked that the legislator was turning against women who were among people who elected him into the House of Assembly.

    On the Adv Zhou report, the committee noted that the Mabvuku district was deeply divided with two distinct factions — one aligned to the lawmaker while the other was aligned to the chairman, Mr Morgan Gonhi.

    According to Adv Zhou’s report, the Gonhi-led group accuses Mr Mubawu of not consulting the district committee on matters concerning the constituency and the fanning of violence and divisions within the party by trying to impose his own supporters on the structures rather than elected officials.

    On the other hand, Mr Mubawu accused Gonhi’s camp of turning against him because he refused to succumb to their insatiable demands for money after they campaigned for him in the primary elections before the 2005 parliamentary polls.

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