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MDC-T Chief Whip blasts ZBC for avoiding to screen Gukurahundi argument in Parliament

by Stephen Jakes
12 May 2017 at 06:32hrs | Views
MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese has lambasted the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation TV for avoiding to screen the Gukurahundi debate when Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo got grilled by legislators for saying the atrocities were a non issue in terms of issuance of birth certificates.

Chombo last week made the remarks following MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe's question as to how the government will enable some Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland and midlands to register in the biometric voter registration when they have not birth certificates because their parents were killed during the genocide.

"I am raising a matter of privilege on behalf of myself, other Members of Parliament and the entire population of Zimbabwe who have been short changed or who are being short changed by the public broadcaster.  Last week, on Wednesday, 3rd May, 2017, the leader of the Opposition, Hon. Khupe raised a question relating to Gukurahundi on the difficulties people are having in obtaining identity documents because of people who were killed during the Gukurahundi era," Gonese said.

"The Hon. Minister of Home Affairs responded that it was a non-issue and then there were follow up questions.  It has now come to our attention that the public broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Television Company, through its wisdom or lack of it decided to switch off the live coverage at that particular point in time."

He said in terms of Section 141 of our Constitution, Parliament must be accessible to the Public and it is for this reason that Hon. Chamisa raised that point in this very august House as a result of which we started having live coverage.

"It is my respectful submission Madam Speaker that it defeats the whole purpose if somebody at Pockets Hill decides at any particular point, that they are going to switch off that live coverage.  The whole idea is to have all the proceedings, particularly during question time to be aired live on television," he said.

"For that reason, I am raising a complaint because someone from ZTV had a merit to say that, it is up to their discretion to decide to switch as and when they deem it expedient.  I submit, Madam Speaker that this is a disservice, not just to the Members of this august House but to the entire country.  I want as a matter of procedure that the Chair makes a pronouncement that that behaviour is not acceptable.  If the ZTV has accepted that they are going to broadcast our proceedings live, then they must do so."

Gonese said other countries have got their own television stations which are run by their Parliaments.

"Unfortunately, we do not have that but it is an obligation which the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation must take seriously.  When they have come, they must, with due diligence, carry it out to its logical conclusion and not to switch it off as they did last week," he said.

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