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MDC petitions Parliament over arrests

The main opposition MDC has petitioned Parliament over what it described as unwarranted arrests and persecution of its Members of Parliament in the aftermath of the violent protests that rocked the country last week.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda

MDC Alliance legislators, Amos Chibaya of Mkoba, Livingstone Chimina (Chiundura), Lloyd Mukapiko (Redcliff) and Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo) were arrested in a crackdown against the opposition following the recent stay-away. Several members of the party are said to be in hiding as they fear for their lives.

In a letter to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, leader of the Opposition House in Parliament Thabitha Khumalo said the Nelson Chamisa-led party was concerned with the “wanton and unwarranted arrests and persecution of MDC Alliance Members of Parliament by various State agents”.

“To date, four of our legislators have been arrested on trumped-up charges and a number of them are being hunted and victimised for their MDC membership,” reads the letter in part.

“Some MDC Alliance legislators have been arrested and persecuted for the stay-away which … was called for by the suffering working class of Zimbabwe.

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“Their call for the action was motivated by the various socio-economic challenges that are bedevilling our nation. Obviously, the hiking of fuel price and its ripple effects to the general cost of living,” Khumalo said.

She said it was unfortunate a host of other MDC MPs are being threatened and haunted by State security agents.

Khumalo, who is also the MDC Alliance national chairperson, said some of the MPs are being charged for alleged attempts to subvert the sitting Zanu PF government.

“In this regard, we strongly feel that these are trumped-up frivolous charges meant to frustrate and prejudice their social standing and that of the MDC Alliance.”

She added: “Whilst it is agreed that no one is above the law, it is emerging that there are others that are more equal than others and actually above the country’s
laws. For the record, the Constitution of Zimbabwe confers prominence to the fact that all institutions, agencies of the State, government and all individuals are accountable to Parliament.”

Khumalo further noted that even the Presidency, as an arm of the State, is not exempt from accountability to Parliament.

“Compliance with all relevant constitutional provisions is obligatory and never discretionary. Section 2(2) of the Constitution makes it crystal clear that the
obligations imposed by the Constitution are binding on every person, natural or juristic, including the State, all executive, legislative, judicial institutions and agencies of government at every level.”

“In conclusion, I therefore humbly appeal for your urgent intervention on this matter for the safety of all my Honourable Members of Parliament and the public at large,” he said. DailyNews