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Parliamentary round up: Bulletin No. 19 / 2010
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
October 20, 2010

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Presidential motion: Political violence

The motion in reply to the presidential speech dominated debate in the House of Assembly on Tuesday 19 October 2010, with the House divided along political lines. The debate focused on two major themes; violence and distribution of agricultural inputs.

ZANU PF and MDC MPs traded accusations on who is responsible for political violence in the country. The controversy was instigated by Hon. Festus Dumbu (MDC-T Zaka West) who said despite the fact that President Mugabe called for peace in the country when he officially opened the 3rd Session of the 7th Parliament on 13 July 2010, political violence has become endemic in the country. He said Zaka District has always borne the brunt of political violence by ZANU PF dating back to pre-independence. Hon. Dumbu alleged that during the liberation struggle for independence, the majority of people in Zaka District associated with PF ZAPU policies and ideology, which did not go down well with ZANLA freedom fighters that operated in the area. Thus Zaka people were persecuted by ZANU PF as they were labeled sell-outs. In the 90s, Zaka people were subjected to yet another spate of political violence, this time for supporting ZUM led by Edgar Tekere. Hon. Dumbu further alleged that Zaka people have been punished by ZANU PF for supporting MDC. He accused ZANU PF of sending the War Veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, on an errand to terrorize villagers in Masvingo Province and Zaka District in particular. MDC Members called for responsible authorities to reign in Jabulani Sibanda without any further delays.

Hon. Dumbu’s debate did no go down well with ZANU PF Members who tried in vain to have him ruled out of order for accusing a person who could not defend himself in the House.

In retaliation, Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane (ZANU PF Mberengwa East) said MDC-T was equally to blame for political violence in the country. He said in actual fact all major political parties were guilty for fanning political violence in the country as acknowledged in the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Hon. Hlongwane told the House that he had evidence of MDC terror camps based in Epworth, Mufakose and Chitungwiza during the 2008 Harmonized Elections. He accused MDC activists trained from these “terror camps” for murdering ZANU PF supporters during the election period in question. Other ZANU PF Members who debated the motion apportioned blame on MDC as they argued that the emergence of political violence coincided with the formation of the MDC in 1999.

This argument was strongly rejected by MDC Members led by Hon. Tabitha Khumalo who said ZANU PF’s propensity for political violence predated the formation of MDC. She cited the 80s political violence meted out on PF ZAPU supporters, which has come to be known as ‘Gukurahundi’.

Members were agreed that continued political violence in the country made mockery of the Organ for National Healing and Integration.

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