Hearing abandoned as MDC, Zanu (PF) clash

An Electoral Amendment Bill hearing was abandoned at Nehanda Hall on Monday as MDC and Zanu (PF) members clashed over views to be incorporated into the Electoral Act among other issues.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

The hearings are being conducted across the country by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.

The disturbances were sparked off after a resident narrated how his property was destroyed by Zanu (PF) in June 2008 and suggested that the constituent or ward based polling system was safer than the proposed polling station based.

“I was beaten up and my property destroyed by Zanu (PF) members after the June 2008 elections. This was as a result of the ward based polling system which enabled perpetrators of violence to identify and victimise suspected MDC supporters,” said the participant before he was booed and threatened.

An eye-witness said MDC members called for tolerance but Zanu (PF) members would have nothing of it.

MDC also protested that dozens of aged people were bussed in by Zanu (PF) from as far as Headlands where the hearings were to be conducted later in the day. Others were bussed from Goromonzi.

“Just as they did at the Copac outreach meetings, selected and planted participants had views written down by Zanu (PF) for them. When trouble started, some old people walking with the aid of walking sticks could be heard regretting being bussed to the hearing. They feared for their lives,” said one participant.

There was a stampede as the situation turned tense. Insults and threats were traded between members of the two parties as they spoiled for a fight. Zanu (PF) members were left stranded as their trucks sped off to safety leaving them behind.

The consultative team scurried for cover in its Parliamentary bus. Efforts to get comment from them were fruitless in the commotion.

Meanwhile, MDC-T President, Morgan Tsvangirai has urged party members to be highly disciplined and shun violence.

He told a weekend rally: “In MDC we do not hail insults to our detractors but talk peace. We also do not shout when others are speaking at special occasions. Neither do we attend party functions drunk. Be a responsible citizen and be politically tolerant.”

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