MDC call for parliament to investigate political violence
By Lance Guma
15 October 2008
The MDC MP for Lobengula, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, has called on parliament to investigate the political violence which rocked the country before and after elections this year. Speaking on Tuesday during the first session of parliament, the MDC Home Affairs Secretary argued that national healing could only be achieved through a full disclosure of what happened. More than 130 MDC activists lost their lives during a deadly campaign of violence that was spearheaded by members of the security services in the notorious Joint Operations Command. Tens of thousands of supporters were brutalized and displaced.
Addressing an MDC dominated parliament Nkomo said it was important not to underestimate the violence suffered by people in the country. ‘For there to be any meaningful national healing, there is need for all the crimes of political violence to be investigated and all the perpetrators brought to book.’ Newsreel understands Mutare Central MDC MP Innocent Gonese will formally table the motion on Thursday and this will be seconded by Jessie Majome the MP for Harare West. The combined MDC with 110 seats in parliament is confident they have the numbers to push the motion through.
ZANU PF’s response was predictable, with Mt Darwin South MP Savior Kasukuwere claiming, ‘It will help no one to start to open old wounds. Let’s put the past behind us and move the country ahead.’ Kasukuwere as deputy youth minister was nicknamed ‘Paraquat’ for encouraging party youths to rub the poisonous herbicide onto the torture wounds of MDC activists. This meant that it was almost impossible for the wounds to ever heal and caused enormous suffering and a number of deaths. The issue of prosecution for those who committed human rights abuses is thought to be at the core of ZANU PF’s reluctance to concede any security and justice ministries to the MDC.
Instead of confronting the issue of violence, ZANU PF went looking for political red herrings. Mutoko South ZANU PF MP Olivia Muchena notified parliament she would be moving a motion to set up a parliamentary delegation to visit western countries and lobby for a removal of ‘sanctions.’ ‘In the spirit of inclusivity, let’s unite as parliamentarians and move around those capitals calling for the removal of sanctions,’ Muchena said. Former MDC Zengeza MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa told Newsreel ZANU PF was clearly in ‘campaign mode.’ He said the country was not under any sanctions as only individual ZANU PF officials and companies were placed on targeted sanctions lists.
‘If Muchena and her colleagues feel they have repented, then it is them who should go to the British and others to negotiate the removal of the targeted sanctions.’ He questioned why other people not targeted by the sanctions, should be bothered to campaign for their removal. Musekiwa said although ZANU PF was aware the sanctions were only targeting individuals and companies that support the regime, this has not stopped them using the argument to blame the West for the country’s economy collapse.