HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, only on Saturday, 2nd March 2019, Hon. J. Mamombe who also happens to be the youngest Member of this august House; not only is she young, she is also a young woman, was arrested in Nyanga whilst attending Parliamentary Business.
Since August, 2018, there are over 12 Members of Parliament that have been arrested; these include Hon. Settlement Chikwinya, Hon. Mukapiko, Hon. Amos Chibaya, Hon. Godfrey Sithole, Hon. Nyathi from Matabeleland North, Hon. Chimina, Hon. Sen. Morgen Komichi and Hon. Tendai Biti. Mr. Speaker Sir, the State has a right to proceed against any individual in respect of which reasonable grounds of suspicion exists but in casu, if you trace the thread of the charges brought against these Hon. Members, the charges are clearly political. The charges are clearly tied up inextricably to the contested election of 30th July, 2018.
Mr. Speaker Sir, you are the leader of this august House, there is a duty on Parliament to protect the integrity of this Hon. House. The integrity of this Hon. House can only be manifested if the safety and security of Hon. Members is safeguarded and protected. Mr. Speaker Sir, half the Members whom I have read out; Hon. Amos Chibaya, Hon. Joanna Mamombe, are facing charges of treason; they are accused of wanting to subvert a constitutionally elected Government. Mr. Speaker Sir, even if we wanted to, we cannot do it. The charges are clearly frivolous and vexatious; they will not stand in a court of law.
Our appeal is that there are privileges associated with Parliament, which are codified in the Parliamentary Privileges Act. There are privileges associated with Parliament which are associated with Section 117 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The State cannot abuse the criminal justice system of Zimbabwe in order to cripple the effectiveness of Parliament by unjustified and unwarranted arrests of Members of Parliament. Members of Parliament have got a duty; the duty that is defined in Section 117 and Section 119 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Those duties include: the duty to ensure that the Constitution is protected; the duty to ensure that all laws that are brought by the Executive pass constitutional tests; hence the Parliamentary Legal Committee; the duty to ensure that all financial regulations and financial probity exists as is demanded in Section 298 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, it is very demeaning and unbecoming that an Hon. Member can be picked from a seminar that this august House has sent him/her to attend. Surely, Parliament must protect its own. I hear my colleagues on the other side shouting, hey, hey. Mr. Speaker, the unlawfulness and fascism is neutral; today they are coming for us tomorrow they will be coming for you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, we ask that this House – there must be a method; a formula in which Hon. Members can be summoned to appear before the courts of law. They can phone the Chief Whips or phoning the leaders of the respective Chambers is sufficient. They can even approach your esteemed self as the Speaker of the National Assembly.
We are not saying that Hon. Members do not commit crimes; they do but surely there must be a methodology that affords this House the respect and the decorum it deserves. I submit Mr. Speaker that let us protect the institution of Parliament by protecting the key ingredients of Parliament who are the Hon. esteemed Members. Thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
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