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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 7 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
March 03, 2011

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Introduction

Both Houses are not sitting this week as they adjourned last week to 8 March 2011. However, committees continued meeting. Below are some highlights of committee meetings held this week.

Defence and Home Affairs

The much-awaited meeting between the Committees of Defence and Home Affairs, and Peace and Security, and the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Augustine Chihuri, finally took place today, Thursday 3 March 2011. Commissioner Chihuri appeared before the two Committees in the company of Melusi Matshiya, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs. Commissioner-General Chihuri blamed political parties (ZANU PF and MDC-T) for fanning violence in the country and dismissed allegations that the police were biased in handling cases of politically motivated violence. He said the police responded to violence without fear or favour. He gave the following statistics of political violence in the country from January 2011 to date:

Province No. of reported cases of violence No. of Zanu PF activists arrested No. of MDC-T activists arrested
Harare 19 8 42
Mash West 2 0 12
Bulawayo 4 0 3
Manicaland 3 10 20
Midlands 3 0 10
Mash Central 4 2 3
Mat North 1 0 4
Mash East 1 0 1
Masvingo 3 0 7

He seemed to apportion more blame to the MDC-T for political violence in the country as he said police records showed that high ranking MDC-T officials such as Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, the Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone, Hon. Douglas Mwonzora and Hon. Tongai Matutu, among others, had been involved in acts of violence before.

The ZRP Commissioner-General told the Committee that cases of politically motivated violence normally surge whenever there was talk of elections, EU meetings to extend sanctions and events where the President was the guest of honour. When asked how an EU meeting being held in Europe could precipitate violence in the country, he said it was abundantly clear that a certain political party was instigating violence to influence the decision of EU to extend sanctions in the country.

Chihuri was noncommittal on statistics of people who had been arrested for political violence that engulfed the country in June 2008 elections. Instead, he referred the Committee to the Organ on National Healing and Integration.

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