Zanu PF ruffians hinder key reforms

HARARE - As an embarrassing defeat in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections becomes an ever more distinct possibility, Zanu PF yobs are escalating their violent programme to scuttle the current public hearings on needed electoral reforms.

This comes as opposition parties continue to push for the much-needed reforms and a raft of other changes to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s secretariat, ahead of the 2018 polls.

The public hearings, which are spearheaded by the  parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, are meant to gather people’s views across all the country’s provinces in line with the aspirations of Zimbabweans.

But twice last week, the Zanu PF thugs assaulted members of Parliament and members of the public who were attending the outreach programmes, bringing meetings to a premature end.

In both incidents, police appeared powerless to stop the mobs, who went scot-free despite their despicable acts against a lawful, government-sanctioned programme.

The MDC said yesterday that the thuggery by the Zanu PF youths who are being bussed in to disrupt the outreach meetings, was giving Zimbabweans a sneak peek into what the ruling party would do as the 2018 elections approached.

“They are terribly afraid. They know that if there are electoral reforms there will be free and fair elections and they will not win because they do not have the numbers as compared to MDC.

“It shows that Zanu PF does not want people to express their will. If you remember during Copac (the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee) meetings, they also did the same thing.

“They are being true to their nature. This is a rehearsal of what they are going to do in 2018,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

On Thursday, Zanu PF thugs ran amok, disrupting a public hearing on electoral reforms, before manhandling female legislators at Mutare’s Beit Hall, in similar nasty scenes as those witnessed during Wednesday’s chaotic events in Parliament where police were accused of molesting female MPs.

The apparently bussed-in ruffians attacked legislators Jessie Majome and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga during submissions by civic groups who questioned Zanu PF’s parcelling out of land to ruling party youths in the run-up to last week’s Norton by-election which was won by gutsy independent candidate Temba Mliswa.

On Friday, bussed-in ruling party yobs also forced the abandonment of the outreach meeting at Iminyela Hall in Bulawayo.

Perhaps revealingly, no arrests were made in both nasty incidents.

“They (the police) are just refusing to maintain order and allow the meetings to go ahead. I have never seen the police acting so powerlessly.

“They are failing to give protection to parliamentary processes and I am wondering, and can only suspect that what they are doing is in sync with what is happening.

“Anyone who disrupts parliamentary proceedings is committing an offence and should be arrested. But police are refusing to act, so we were left with no option but to call the hearings off,” Majome said.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has, meanwhile, also condemned the rowdy behaviour by Zanu PF youths.

“ZimRights is disturbed by the undemocratic and violent attempts by members of the ruling party at preventing citizens from making their voices heard regarding electoral reforms in the public hearings on the petition made to Parliament by the … ERC and 14 other organisations.

“The violent incidences by Zanu PF officials are ... in contempt of the constitutional role of Parliament, which is mandated to hear public views on issues of national interest so as to factor them in the legislative agenda,” ZimRights said.

Opposition political parties, coalescing under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) have been pressing for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 elections.

At one time, the grouping comprising 18 different parties, held protests which were ruthlessly crushed by police despite lawful court orders permitting the mass action.

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Comments (1)

So if the police are so powerless to arrest zanu pf hobos who are committing these offences in broad daylight what is the significance of having the the police at all?I wonder what will be going through the minds of the zanu pf leaders and their president in particular.Is this zanu pf's own version of democracy?Dictators the world over have no shame at all but the Zim situation has surpassed them all.

Janana wa Bikaz - 31 October 2016

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