ZANU PF MPs once again walked out of the National Asembly dealing a body blow to a motion by Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) to force Parliament to investigate rising cases of police brutality.
Source: Zanu PF MPs walk out on police brutality motion, again – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Chamisa on Tuesday sought leave of the House to move the motion for a third time after the ruling party’s legislators refused to have it discussed by walking out on two previous occasions.
With all MDC-T lawmakers rising from their seats to support the adjournment of Parliament “on a definite matter of urgent public importance” in terms of Standing Order 59, Speaker Jacob Mudenda agreed to have the motion tabled.
“The motion contemplated by Honourable Chamisa is in terms of order number 59. This motion has suffered stillbirth twice and the Hon member, I do not know how he consulted.
“However, I want to take him on his word that there are still people who would like to debate that motion – I will give it a last chance. If it fails again, it shall not be entertained in future because we do not want to do that which we know may not succeed. I have advised Honourable Chamisa to try other aspects or strategies that may achieve the same,” Mudenda said.
But late on Tuesday the motion could not be debated after the National Assembly members available could not constitute a quorum.
Chamisa wants Parliament to investigate police “brutality on citizens engaging in peaceful and constitutional demonstrations” and had indicated that MPs were ready to debate the motion.
The MDC-T vice-president said he had noted the “disturbing images and video footage of men and women in police uniform beating up innocent civilians; aware that the Police Charter rests on the settled principle of pro lege, pro patria, pro populi (for the law, for the country, for the people)”.
Chamisa said he was worried about the behaviour of certain police officers, was concerned with “human rights abuses and rule by law instead of rule of law, as instigated by certain of the police officers or persons masquerading as police”, and perturbed by the minister responsible for the police, Ignatius Chombo, or Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s silence on the matter.
The Kuwadzana East MP also acknowledged the fact that President Robert Mugabe had “publicly condemned the public who were exercising their rights without correspondingly condemning the police for their abuse of citizen rights and that of the Constitution”, and demanded that Parliament sets up a commission of inquiry into the abuses.
Chamisa then demanded that Chombo investigates the cases of police brutality against citizens and present a report to Parliament.
Chombo, according to Chamisa, must also be forced to issue a public apology and “immediately implement training of police on human rights as part of their curriculum in terms of the Constitution”.
The legislator also wants the enactment of legislation that allows for the “setting-up of an independent complaints mechanism for members of the public as contemplated by the Constitution”.
Chamisa was not available to comment on the course of action he would take going forward.