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Press statement by Hon. Lovemore Moyo Speaker of the House of Assembly
on the recent public hearings disturbances
Lovemore Moyo, MDC
July 26, 2011
of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee of Parliament
The events of the past week concerning the disruption of the proceedings
of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional
and Parliamentary and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights Joint
Inquiry of the public views and inputs on the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill are a serious cause of concern.
has seen disturbing media reports and has received reports from
the Chairpersons of the two Committees on the disturbances during
the public hearings on the Human Rights Commission Bill. Further,
it has been reported and is now in the public domain that Members
of Parliament, journalists and members of the public were assaulted
in Parliament by rowdy gangs identified as Zanu PF activists who
were dropped off at Parliament as they chanted their party songs
Earlier on last
week, other public hearings by the same Joint Committee were disrupted
in Chinhoyi on the 18th of July, Masvingo
on the 21st of July and Mutare on the 23rd of July in a manner that
is utterly disrespectful and contemptuous of the law making process
and Constitutional mandate of Parliament, that is, to make laws,
represent the people and to exercise oversight over the Executive.
Therefore, it is our conclusion that these disruptions are politically
motivated, calculated and sponsored.
These premeditated disturbances
of public hearings resulted in the savage assaulting of an MP and
journalists within Parliament building and its precincts. This act
is unprecedented both in terms of its primitiveness and contempt
for the authority and mandate of Parliament, as well as in its violations
of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act and the
related Standing Orders of Parliament.
As an institution and
one of the three arms of Government, we feel that these perpetrators
have no respect and understanding of an institution such as the
Parliament of Zimbabwe since they have attacked the very foundation
of public consultation processes we believe in as nation.
This sort of behaviour
has in actual fact set us back in terms of the Parliamentary reforms
initiated by Parliament in 1997 which resulted in the establishment
of the Committee system in 1999 as a way of making Parliament and
its proceedings more accessible to the public and to the same individuals
who came with the intention to destroy what we have been building
as Parliament. Let it be noted that, when the whole concept of the
reform process started, it was to allow the people of Zimbabwe to
contribute to the law making process and other Parliamentary activities,
in a way, strengthening Parliamentary Democracy.
As the Speaker of Parliament,
I am also greatly concerned with the lack of security to such an
extent that Honourable Members of Parliament are beaten up and harassed
at their own workplace. Does this mean that we do not have sufficient
security as Parliament to protect these individuals?
As if we are not in a
position to protect the Members of Parliament, how secure is the
property of the institution? This is a serious cause for concern
as Parliament we strongly condemn this act of violence and behaviour.
We trust that law enforcement agents will move with speed and take
necessary measures to bring to book the sponsors and the perpetrators
of these crimes whose identities are known.
This is yet another unhelpful
entry on the long ledger of the political culture on intolerance,
violence, and the sanctioning of criminal hordes to do the dirty
work of those who cherish violence and violence that continue to
keep Zimbabwe high up on the international relations scene for all
the wrong reasons.
The Human Rights
Commission Bill is part of the negotiated deliverables of the Global
Political Agreement, which includes appointment of the Human
Rights Commission (HRC), the Media Commission (MC), the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)
with Parliament's involvement.
These commissions have
since been appointed, the exception of the Anti-Corruption Commission,
whose appointment is imminent following the concurrence of the Committee
on Standing Rules and Orders.
It must be noted that
the Independent Commissions cannot be wished away and Parliament
is charged with making laws for the Republic. Let me put it clear
to the sponsors and perpetrators of violence that Parliament will
not be intimidated and succumb to this barbaric act. We will remain
firm in discharging our Constitutional mandate. If members of the
public have some grievances in the manner in which we conduct our
business, they are civilised and known ways of channelling their
As Speaker of Parliament
and Chairperson of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee and in
response to events surrounding the violent disruptions of lawful
Public Hearings by the Joint Committees of Parliament I call upon
the three political parties who are signatories to the Global Political
Agreement to rise up above their party differences and give necessary
leadership in order to allow Parliament to do its work uninterrupted.
Parliament is making
its own investigations into the matter in terms of what happened
and what should be done in order to avoid such occurrences in the
future. In the process we will engage all the three parties to ensure
that Parliament as one of the three organs of the state guards and
protects its dignity and integrity. Further, I have asked the Parliament
security and the Police to give us a report on the disturbances.
In conclusion, let me
further assure the people of Zimbabwe that Parliament is there to
serve the interests of the public and therefore we will continue
to consult members of public on matters of national interest as
we execute our mandate.
I thank you, Siyabonga,
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