BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
Police yesterday blocked MDC-T supporters from staging a demonstration against their leader Douglas Mwonzora whom they accuse of stealing $6 355 000 from party coffers.
Mwonzora’s former close ally, Patson Murimoga organised the demonstration which was supposed to be held at Parliament Building yesterday.
He also petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to expel Mwonzora from the National Assembly, claiming that he was not fit to represent the people if he cannot account for the missing funds.
On Wednesday, Murimoga petitioned Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to arrest Mwonzora for alleged theft of party funds and money laundering.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told NewsDay that the demonstration had not been approved due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“COVID-19 is there and members of the public are still urged to follow the necessary preventative protocols,” Nyathi said.
“Why do they want to gather amid the pandemic? If the party members wanted to gather, they should have sought clearance from the Health ministry. Those who violate COVID-19 regulations risk getting arrested.”
But Murimoga said although the demonstration had been blocked, it would not stop him and other party members from demanding that Mwonzora should return the funds.
In his petition handed over to Mudenda yesterday, Murimoga pleaded with the Speaker of the National Assembly to compel the Home Affairs and Justice ministers to explain why the police had not arrested Mwonzora amid overwhelming evidence against him.
“Mr Speaker Sir, the Parliament should not be a refuge for those charged with serious felonies,” Murimoga wrote.
“You have the power, not only to expel this corrupt member, but to also call upon those charged with the arrest and arraignment of this scofflaw to do their job for the sake of the country’s image and judicial independence, to treat all accused equally, fairly and without fear or favour.
“This is about your legacy Mr Speaker; history will frown on this august House for allowing Douglas Togarasei Mwonzora continued membership and liberty to pass laws when he should be answering for his crimes before our very own competent courts of law.”
But Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba told NewsDay that the demonstration was being sponsored by “losers” at the recent extraordinary congress.
He said Murimoga had no right to comment on party funds since he was a party driver who had no knowledge of financial affairs.
Efforts to get a comment from Mudenda were fruitless as he was not answering his mobile phone.