Vi­o­lence at Parly pub­lic hear­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pamela Shumba

money from him and threat­ened to ar­rest him if he did not com­ply,” he said.

Mr Chinyan­ganya said Mr Moyo gave them $20 and re­quested $10 back say­ing he did not have any money left but they re­fused.

Mr Moyo, upon re­al­is­ing that the cops wanted more money, recorded a video of what was tran­spir­ing us­ing his cellphone. — @DubeMatutu. VI­O­LENCE erupted dur­ing an Elec­toral Law Re­forms pub­lic hear­ing at Iminyela Hall in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day forc­ing the Par­lia­men­tary Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Jus­tice, Le­gal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs to call off the meet­ing.

More than 400 Bu­l­awayo res­i­dents and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions had gath­ered for the con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing which was or­gan­ised at the re­quest of the Elec­tion Re­source Cen­tre (ERC) and 14 civic groups who pe­ti­tioned Par­lia­ment to ex­pe­dite elec­toral re­forms.

The dis­rup­tions in Bu­l­awayo fol­low sim­i­lar in­ci­dents in Mutare on Thurs­day and Mu­toko on Wed­nes­day where rowdy youths at­tacked Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans.

The com­mit­tee, chaired by Harare West Leg­is­la­tor Ms Jessie Ma­jome, failed to calm the vi­o­lence which erupted about 10 min­utes into the meet­ing.

Zanu-PF and MDC-T youths ac­cused each other of try­ing to per­son­alise the pub­lic meet­ing, lead­ing to the scuf­fle.

Po­lice were called to the venue af­ter par­tic­i­pants started phys­i­cally at­tack­ing each other fol­low­ing an ex­change of harsh words over ques­tions asked be­fore the com­mit­tee.

One of the par­tic­i­pants asked what the Zim­babwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (ZEC) was do­ing about dead peo­ple who were re­port­edly reg­is­tered to vote.

An­other ag­i­tated par­tic­i­pant re­sponded by ask­ing if it was pos­si­ble for dead peo­ple to vote, trig­ger­ing the dis­tur­bances which saw some of the peo­ple, most of them youths, al­most ex­chang­ing blows.

Some of the youths started shout­ing un­print­able ob­scen­i­ties call­ing on the meet­ing to be called off while some in­sisted that the meet­ing should con­tinue.

At some point Ms Ma­jome ar­gued with some of the com­mit­tee mem­bers who felt that it was un­safe to be at the venue while she in­sisted that they could con­tinue with as­sis­tance from the po­lice.

How­ever, all the par­tic­i­pants were dis­missed at 12 noon when the meet­ing was sup­posed to end. Some of the par­tic­i­pants were still ar­gu­ing and threat­en­ing each other with vi­o­lence.

Ms Ma­jome said she was dis­ap­pointed that the peo­ple of Bu­l­awayo al­lowed them­selves to be pro­voked and missed an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss crit­i­cal is­sues on the coun­try’s elec­toral pro­cess.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate that Bu­l­awayo peo­ple have al­lowed them­selves to be pro­voked. We can’t resched­ule the meet­ing be­cause we have to pro­ceed to Gwanda for the next hear­ing.

“We need to learn to be calm and tol­er­ant as Zim­bab­weans. If we don’t man­age to do that we’re head­ing for trou­ble. If such things are hap­pen­ing when we’re merely try­ing to dis­cuss is­sues, I shud­der to think what will hap­pen in 2018,” said Ms Ma­jome.

She said she was at­tacked in Mutare by sim­i­lar el­e­ments who do not want elec­toral re­forms in the coun­try.

Ms Ma­jome said the com­mit­tee was still open to re­ceive writ­ten sub­mis­sions from mem­bers of the pub­lic.

The Com­mit­tee is con­duct­ing pub­lic hear­ings on elec­toral law re­forms.

Con­sta­bles Fume Chib­vuri and Aaron Zivuku

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