Members of the MDC-T and MDC-M constitutional parliamentary committee (Copac) stopped working on Wednesday in protest at the arrest of rapporteur Kudakwashe Munengiwa on Monday.
Munengiwa reportedly exposed himself after an altercation with Zanu-PF supporters that had started in Chimanimani and continued at the Mutare offices of Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa.
Outreach teams surrender equipment at the end of each day and it was during this routine exercise that Munengiwa, angry that the Zanu PF officials had continued harassing him, chose to prove his manhood by pulling down his zipper.
The row centres on Munengiwa and a team leader from Zanu PF, Senator Oriah Kabayanjiri.
Munengiwa has since been given US$20 bail and his case will resume next week.
Members of both MDC formations in Manicaland said they would go back to work only after the withdrawal of charges by Kabayanjiri against the rapporteur.
According to a source the dispute between Munengiwa and Kabayanjiri started after some Zanu PF supporters allegedly intimidated the public at a meeting by putting Zanu PF themes in a prayer.
“We were having a meeting at Magistrates’ Hall in Chimanimani when some Zanu PF war veterans led by Senator Oriah Kabayanjiri made intimidating prayers to start the meeting.”
“In a normal situation it is members of the outreach teams that are supposed to lead the prayers. Instead some feared Zanu PF supporters took over and started saying some of their party’s thematic points in a prayer,” said the source.
The source added that Zanu PF supporters started questioning Munengiwa as to why he was documenting what they were doing and he is alleged to have said that it was job as a rapporteur and he wasn’t supposed to be censored by anyone.
MDC-T Co-chairman of Copac Douglas Mwonzora said he was aware of the “unpleasant interaction”.
Mwonzora said: “As a result of the unpleasant interaction Honourable Kabayanjiri has filed a criminal complaint. The other team members feel that this is an abuse of state machinery to set personal differences. For that reason, they have refused to attend meetings until the rapporteur is released.”
“Anything offensive must be avoided by the respondents,” he said. “Offensive prayers must be stopped. I understand that there are some offensive and provocative prayers being made by some people during the outreach meetings.
It was decided that prayers must be made by the outreach teams.”
Mwonzora said the clash between Kabayanjiri and Munengiwa was more of a clash of personalities which really did not need the involvement of the police.
“Following my conversation with Honourable (Paul) Mangwana I was made to understand that Honourable Kabayanjiri was contemplating withdrawal of charges. The whole issue must be resolved,” he said.
However, Zanu PF Co-chairman of Copac Paul Mangwana said his party was not going to tolerate a violation of Zimbabwean laws and the matter was going to be referred to the principals (President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Minister Arthur Mutambara).
“I am aware of the situation,” he said. “Zimbabwe is a law-abiding country.
The rapporteur is alleged to have committed a crime of public indecency.
“We cannot sacrifice the constitution because of an indecent act committed by someone. As Zanu PF we will not tolerate public indecency. This is a challenge that the MDC has to resolve among its members. We will proceed by referring the matter to the principals.”
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said he was aware of the protest by the MPs and said his party was going to look into it.
“The constitution-making process is supposed to be a process of national healing and catharsis but quite to the contrary some cases of constitution-making process are opening fresh wounds and fresh commissions of acts of violence. This situation has to be dealt with immediately,” said Chamisa.
He said their biggest challenge was dealing with Zanu PF’s insecurity which resulted in a number of isolated cases of violence taking place mainly in the rural areas.