THE MDC-T has appealed to principals of the inclusive government to set free convicted MPs amid fears that the former opposition party could lose its majority in the House of Assembly.
Moving a motion that seeks to appoint an independent parliamentary select committee to investigate the prosecution and conduct of the Attorney-General in â€œpolitically motivated prosecutionsâ€, Masvingo MP Tongai Matutu said President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara should pardon incarcerated MPs.
His motion comes in the wake of recent prosecutions and convictions of MDC-T MPs that has resulted in the party losing influential representation in the House of Assembly.
Deputy Minister of Youth, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, who was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly stealing a cellphone belonging to war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, becomes the latest lawmaker to be prosecuted. Already five MDC MPs have been convicted and sentenced with custodial sentences in what the party described as â€œtrumped up chargesâ€.
Matutuâ€™s motion said: â€œFurther disturbed by a clear and deliberate policy of whittling down the MDC majority in the House of Assembly, this House unreservedly condemns the unwarranted convictions and continuous selective application of the law.â€ The mover also pushed for the â€œimmediate withdrawal, reversal and quashing of all convictions or pending prosecutionsâ€.
Â â€œOur plea to the principals is to find a way you can secure the pardon of these people,â€ he said
Matutu accused the AGâ€™s office of â€œselectively applyingâ€ the law against MDC-T MPs since opening of the lower House last August.
He cited the arrest and conviction of Zaka North MP Earnest Mudavanhu on charges of abusing government agricultural inputs. He said if â€œput to taskâ€ he would name Zanu PF legislators implicated in agricultural inputs scams.
â€œWhy are those people who destroyed his home and confisticated his beasts (during the run up to last Juneâ€™s presidential election runoff) not being prosecuted? If we want to be fair, why is it that these members of parliament are easily prosecuted and convicted,â€ Matutu asked.
â€œIf you (the AGâ€™s office) continue to selectively apply the law you are saying you donâ€™t want national healing and the inclusive government. Is it that we are thugs or victims of a system that would result in the depleting of MDC members in parliament?â€ he asked.
Mazowe Central MP Shepherd Mushonga who seconded the motion criticised the Attorney-Generalâ€™s office for not prosecuting suspects linked to eight deaths of MDC supporters killed in â€œbroad daylightâ€ at Chaona farm last June.
â€œThe role of the Attorney-General is to prosecute not persecute,â€ he said. â€œWe donâ€™t want persecution, we want prosecution â€” a display of professionalism. It is not about Tomana but the office (AGâ€™s office) should be held above board. We donâ€™t want to personalise the office of the AG, we donâ€™t want youthful enthusiasm in that office, and we want the AG to know the consequences of what he is doing.â€
Zanu PF legislators Edward Raradza and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti however opposed the motion.
â€œIf we continue opening these boxes (of past misdemeanors), then there is nowhere we are going as an inclusive government,â€ Raradza said.
Bhasikiti said prosecuting perpetrators for offences committed during the presidential runoff had â€œno room in the Global Political Agreementâ€.
â€œI have respect for the Honourable member (Matutu) but I have contempt for his motion,â€ he said.
BY BERNARD MPOFU