via Opposition MPs receive death threats – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 16, 2015
MDC-T legislators yesterday received death threats before the official opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament following State media reports that they wanted to disrupt President Robert Mugabe’s speech.
by VENERANDA LANGA
The party’s chief whip Innocent Gonese raised the issue as a point of order a few minutes before Mugabe entered the House to deliver his speech.
Gonese claimed seven MPs had received death threat messages from anonymous numbers.
“I rise on a matter of privilege, Mr Speaker. MDC-T MPs have received death threat messages from anonymous telephone numbers. I believe it undermines the integrity of Parliament,” Gonese said.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said the affected MPs should make a police report and thereafter, it would be a Parliament issue.
“That matter really is of great importance. I would like to advise all members who have received such messages to report to the police and the police will then make the necessary presentations — and I am sure that through modern technology, they will be able to trace the source of the threats,” Mudenda said.
Some of the affected MPs are Gonese (Mutare Central), Amos Chibaya (Mkoba), Prosper Mutseyami (Musikavanhu), James Maridadi (Mabvuku-Tafara), Prince Dubeko Sibanda (Binga North), Jessie Majome (Harare West) and Nelson Chamisa (Kuwadzana East).
The messages, which were gleaned by NewsDay on a phone belonging to one of the MPs, were sent from a source called “Death” and they read: “Warning: Parliament immunity ends at Parliament. If you step out, you are an ordinary citizen. Act wisely by not disturbing the proceedings of Parliament.”
Later when Parliament had adjourned, Gonese said the messages were a warning that they should not disrupt Mugabe’s speech.
“It warns MPs not to disturb the Presidents’ speech. The number does not reflect the sender’s name and it is written ‘Death’.
If you try to phone back, the number does not get through. There is no number showing on it,” he said.
Majome told NewsDay that it was traumatic to receive death threats.
“I am angry and worried. If you receive death threats, you get worried because it is about one’s life. It undermines our functions as representatives of the people as well as the integrity of Parliament. We believe the State has a hand in this. However, I will continue doing my duties,” Majome said.
Chibaya said the message was worrisome as the country had a history of abductions and killings.
“It is a serious issue because it is about one’s life. Anything can happen because of the history of abductions in this country,” Chibaya said.
Chamisa said he had already demanded an explanation from mobile phone service provide Econet.
Meanwhile, the new Zanu PF MP for Mwenezi East, Joshua Moyo, was sworn in, in the National Assembly together with Midzi West MP Magna Mudyiwa.