On July 13, 2016 at just after 18.00 hrs the Acting President of Zimbabwe, Phelekezela Mphoko, arrived unannounced at Avondale Police Station in Harare and demanded that “his boys” be released from the holding cells of the Station. The Police Officers on duty protested that they would only take instruction from their seniors and when they refused to release the two accused, an officer was beaten and the remaining staff were forced to release the two men into the custody of the Acting President.
Source: Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko must be brought to order – The Zimbabwean 28.07.2016
“His boys” were two senior Executives of the Zimbabwe National Road Authority which is responsible for the collection of funds for road construction and maintenance in Zimbabwe. They included the Acting Chief Executive and had been charged with corruption and were due to appear in Court the following day. The amount involved was $1,4 million.
On the 28th of July, Honorable Eddie Cross, Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South raised an urgent motion in the House of Assembly which stated:
“Motion of a matter of Urgent National Importance
28th July 2016
APPALLED at the behavior of the Vice President Mphoko when he forced the Police operating from Avondale Police Station in Harare to release two men arrested on serious fraud charges on the 13th July 2016:
CONCERNED that in the course of this incident he ordered his close security staff to assault a Police Officer who resisted his unlawful instructions: and
FURTHER CONCERNED that in forcing the release from custody of these two accused persons, he was violating his position as Acting President as well as the laws of Zimbabwe:
NOW THEREFORE calls on the National Assembly to condemn his behavior in the strongest terms, call on the National Prosecuting Authority to order the rearrest of the two suspects and their arraignment in Court on the charges that have been preferred against them.
FURTHERMORE the Vice President to be instructed by the President to apologize to the Police for his actions and to pay such compensation as is deemed reasonable, to the Officer whom his security details assaulted.”
After tabling the Motion the Speaker of the House, the Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda called for at least 25 Members to support the Motion and 37 Members of Parliament from the MDC did so. On this basis the motion was ruled as being valid and justified and an emergency debate and vote was announced for 17.15 hrs in the House of Assembly.
When the time came for the motion to be debated, the majority of Zanu PF Members left the Chamber and a senior Party Member rose to say that there was no quorum. Only 37 Members remained in the House and the debate was suspended and the House adjourned.
The tragedy of this situation is that the Vice President is clearly guilty of the abuse of his office, he clearly condoned serious corruption in a State institution, violated the Police Act. The National Prosecuting Authority and the Ant Corruption Commission. In addition the assault on a Police Officer of duty was totally uncalled for and disgraceful.
The MDC would have expected many, if not most of their Zanu PF colleagues in Parliament to have supported this important Motion and its recommendations. Instead, without exception, they chose to remain silent and complicit in this disgraceful incident. It will go down as one of the lowest periods in our Parliament. It also shows quite clearly that Zanu PF has no intention, whatsoever of tackling the many serious problems of Zimbabwe including widespread corruption.
MDC : EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson