Zimbabwe Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday accused opposition Citizens Coalition for Change legislator Wellington Chikombo of trying to smuggle in the Gukurahundi issue every time he stood up in Parliament.
Ziyambi said this after Chikombo had asked what the government was doing to stop politically motivated violence which erupted recently in Mbare and Matobo.
Ziyambi said that the government had zero tolerance to violence.
He added, however: “What we have noticed is that when certain events are about to happen, certain individuals would then fan this violence and dump it on a particular section of our society.”
When Chikombo said what was happening was reminiscent of Gukurahundi, Ziyambi said the legislator was getting excitable and was abusing the word Gukurahundi.
When asked to withdraw the word excitable by some of the legislators, Ziyambi said: “There is a tendency among some Hon. Members to speak more than the bereaved. Each time some Hon. Members stand up, they try as much as possible to smuggle in issues of Gukurahundi, which the President is addressing. Everything that happens in Matabeleland, whether political or not political, they want to bring in issues of Gukurahundi, which they know themselves they do not know how to solve.”
Q & A:
HON. CHIKOMBO: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and in his absence, I will direct the question to the Leader of Government of Business. Recently, we have realised the upsurge of politically motivated violence which started in Mbare and it is now across the country in Matobo. What is Government policy in assuaging the political violence that is taking place across the country?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): The policy of Government is that we have zero tolerance to violence. His Excellency at each and every gathering emphasises that point. The spokesperson of the police recently also emphasised that particular point that we should not have violence. What we have noticed is that when certain events are about to happen, certain individuals would then fan this violence and dump it on a particular section of our society. The general message that has been portrayed and the President has been very clear that as we approach the elections, let us ensure that we are humane and we do not fan violence. The police are doing the same. In fact the police indicated that they will apply the law without fear or favour.
The call is that all of us as Zimbabweans must heed that call and ensure that we do not employ tactics of playing victim when we have started violence.
HON. CHIKOMBO: My question is – what have you done as Government to make sure that you bring those perpetrators of violence to book because what happened last weekend in Matobo is reminiscent of Gukurahundi where women were subjected to torture and there is banditry and insurgence that is taking place in this country? Is it just an issue of talking through ZTV and other platforms or it is about walking the talk? The issue of violence is rearing its ugly face across and we cannot fold our hands and stand akimbo when such an increase continues unabated. What have you done as of now to make sure that you bring those culprits to book? I thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: The Hon Member is excitable and he believes in abusing the word ‘Gukurahundi’ in areas where things are not related – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]. He must withdraw the word ‘Gukurahundi’.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, if I can have your indulgence. My point of order is that when the Hon Minister who is the Leader of Government Business is responding – I think we must be sensitive. We are dealing with a very critical issue and when certain things have happened, I do not believe that it is appropriate to refer to the Hon Member as being ‘excitable’ and when the Leader of Government Business is responding and he is making insinuations…
THE HON. SPEAKER: What are you saying Hon. Gonese?
HON. GONESE: I am talking of the language used by the Hon. Minister of Justice. The Hon. Minister of Justice, in responding, indicated that Hon. Chikombo was excitable. This is why I am making this point of order. That language is not appropriate. So my submission is that the Hon. Minister of Justice must be brought to order in terms of the language; in terms of the sensitivity. When we are looking at a situation where – he might not be privy to the images which Hon. Members on the left have seen, I have seen pictures of Hon. Toffa. I have seen pictures – yes, it is important Mr. Speaker Sir.
When responding, the Hon. Minister should be sensitive. The point I wish to emphasise is that when the Hon. Minister of Justice is responding, he must also appreciate that we are dealing with a very sensitive subject. He may not be aware of some of the information. As a result, he should not be dismissive because his first response was of a dismissive nature, that people are now playing victim when they would have been aggressors.
When Hon. Chikombo raised a supplementary question, he was emphasising a point based on the information that he is privy to. At the end of the day, I believe that it is not appropriate for an Hon. Minister of this Government to actually refer to him as being excitable. Reference to Gukurahundi emanates due to the fact that when Gukurahundi occurred, you are very aware that initially it was just dismissed. Later on, our late President acknowledged that mistakes had been made. I want to say, in the case of Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto, we had a situation where the late Hon. Minister Moven Mahachi said that the two had scratched themselves when there was clear evidence that they had been tortured at the hands of officers in the army.
I believe in those circumstances, it is not proper if the police are being accused of being partisan, but it is because so many cases have been reported and no action has been taken.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are now debating.
HON. GONESE: I know. This is the way I believe that the Hon. Minister of Justice should be asked to withdraw, particularly the word ‘excitable’. I do not think it is appropriate. I do not think it is proper and I think he is being dismissive of a situation where an Hon. Member of this august House, Hon. Jasmine Toffa has been subjected to beatings. I have seen the pictures. They have been circulated. She is in hospital as we speak. This is something which is very serious Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. There is a tendency among some Hon. Members to speak more than the bereaved. Each time some Hon. Members stand up, they try as much as possible to smuggle in issues of Gukurahundi, which the President is addressing. Everything that happens in Matabeleland, whether political or not political, they want to bring in issues of Gukurahundi, which they know themselves they do not know how to solve.
I believe it is inappropriate to use this Parliament to bring in issues of Gukurahundi which the President is addressing. I have never seen any one of them acknowledging the good work that the President is doing to ensure that it goes to closure. So, the reason why I said he is very excitable about the word Gukurahundi, not about what he said is because each time he stands up, he tries as much as possible to smuggle in the word Gukurahundi. They should have acknowledged that the President is doing a lot to ensure that we remain a unitary State, but each time they try as much as possible to do that. That was the point that I was making Mr. Speaker Sir. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-