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Zim Journos, MDC MP Beaten Up by Zanu (PF)

Zim Journos, MDC MP Beaten Up by Zanu (PF)

Harare, July 23, 2011 – A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator 
and five journalists were Saturday beaten up by hordes of Zanu (PF) 
supporters who invaded the Parliament building to disrupt a public hearing 
by a parliamentary committee on the Human Rights Bill.

This follows similar disruptions at Mutare’s Queen Hall and Masvingo on 

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Bill is part of democratic reforms that Mugabe and 
Tsvangirai agreed to in 2008 when they signed a power-sharing agreement. 
Zanu (PF) favours elections this year, but Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the 
Movement of Democratic Change (MDC-T) insists key political reforms must 
first be implemented.

Brian Tshuma, an MDC-T legislator for Hwange Central constituency was beaten 
up inside the senate chamber where the hearing was taking place while 
journalists Levy Mukarati (Financial Gazette), Tsvangirai Mukwazhi (Daily 
News), Nqaba Matshazi (The Standard), Aaron Ufumeli (Newsday), John Cassim 
(freelance photographer) were also beaten up by the mob.

More journalists from both the State and independent media were also forced 
to seek refuge in offices within the parliament building as Zanu (PF) 
supporters ran riot.

Most of the assailants were identified as commuter omnibus touts and vendors 
from the Harare’s biggest fruit and vegetable market, the Mbare Musika. The 
meeting was abandoned as a result of the skirmishes.

Tshuma, a member of the Justice and legal, parliamentary and constitutional 
affairs committee, met his fate when Zanu (PF) supporters who packed the 
senate chamber for the hearing noticed he had not been singing the national 

“Zanu PF supporters accused me of not singing the national anthem when we 
were going through the introductory stages of the hearing. They grabbed me 
by my tie, my belt and some joined in and the next thing I was shoved 
outside the building. Some buttons from my shirt were torn off,” said 

“Instead of helping the situation, police shoved me outside the building at 
the instigation of the vociferous Zanu (PF) supporters.”

Matshazi also related his experience. “I was also approached by Zanu (PF) 
supporters while inside the parliament building who accused me of not 
singing the national anthem. I denied that but they insisted on my leaving 
the parliament building.”

“Someone came from nowhere and beat me with a fist and more people joined 
in. I was grabbed by my jacket and kicked all over. They told me they did 
not care about human rights and they do not respect our newspapers which 
they said write lies about the country. They insulted me with all sorts of 
unprintable words and told me they only cared about President Mugabe and 
no-one else.”

Levy Mukarati also spoke about his ordeal.

“I was inside parliament for the hearing and was forced to move out when I 
noticed the security situation had degenerated,” said Mukarati. “When I was 
outside the building, one of the ladies who was inside identified me as 
among the journalists who had been inside and that’s when I was mobbed by 
more Zanu (PF) supporters who beat me up. I was saved by the police.”

Zanu (PF) supporters were already outside the parliament building as early 
as 7am when the public meeting had been set for 10 am.

Some 300 more tried for hours to force their way through the entrance of the 
parliament building as they sang and danced in praise of President Mugabe 
and in denouncing of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party.

A dozen anti-riot police watched the situation unfold.

In Mutare war veterans in this eastern border city disrupted a hearing of 
the same bill. In Masvingo the hearing ended prematurely after Zanu (PF) 
activists also caused mayhem.

Members of the public that had gathered to give their submission started to 
question why the bill was read in english instead of using the vernacular 
that every can understand.

“The bill was read in English and we did not understand anything, we also do 
not understand what is human rights versus criminology,” said one Zanu Pf 

Some members of the public were saying that it is not fair for the hearing 
to be read without accommodating the deaf.

Amongst members of the crowd was a visually impaired man who said the 
purpose of the meeting was not justified as he needed time to read and 
comprehend the details of the bill before making an informed contribution.

Commotion started when Zanu (PF) deputy secretary for information and 
publicity said the meeting should stop forthwith as there was consensus that 
they did not understand the bill.

“This meeting has to stop because everyone here is agreeing that we did not 
understand what was read, so we should leave,” said Samuriwo amid a wild 
cheers from a group of war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters.

War vets and some Zanu (PF) youth started to sing songs accusing the 
Chairman Douglas Mwonzora of leading the committee which was waylaying 
people’s views.

The chair was forced to end the meeting prematurely after about 40 minutes 
into the proceedings as charging war vets and other Zanu-PF supporters broke 
into songs and dancing in front of the 13 delegates from the Parliament.

In an interview after the meeting Mwonzora said they have noted the 
submissions that have been made by the people of Mutare.

“Some expressed that they have not been made aware of the bill and some 
think that it’s a duplication of the constitution making process and they 
want the constitution to be released first.” They were definite submission 
that were made and one was that the bill is not supported and there was also 
a submission that the investigation of human rights must not only start in 
2009 as envisaged by the bill but must go back to pre-colonial time,” said 


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