THE man who reportedly led Bubi villagers in disrupting a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on Saturday, Douglas Khoza, is a Zanu PF provincial secretary for legal affairs, but the ruling party’s provincial leadership denies scuttling the meeting.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said on Saturday it was forced to abort public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill following disruptions by a group of residents believed to be Zanu PF supporters claiming the meeting was illegal. About 30 rowdy villagers reportedly stormed Inyathi Training Centre where the meeting was being held, forcing the MPs to scurry for safety.
The villagers claimed the committee had not notified Matabeleland North governor Cain Mathema and Bubi MP Clifford Sibanda about the meeting.
However, Zanu PF central committee member Nqabayezwe Maphosa dismissed reports of violence at the meeting saying they only disagreed over time.
Maphosa said they resisted the meeting as a unit that included residents’ representatives and other parties who were unanimous that the meeting could not go on.
“I was there, these people came late. We had been told by the (Bubi) district administrator Leonard Ncube that they would arrive at 3pm, but they only arrived at 5pm,” Maphosa said.
“We were about 30 people at the time, when they arrived. We asked if they had come to consult the people of Bubi, but they said the area was the venue for consultations for the entire Matabeleland North province and all people were meant to gather there.”
Maphosa said they inquired if the meeting had been advertised, “and they said adverts had been placed on newspapers and radio”.
“We argued that the people present could not represent the views of the province. We told them that people had divergent views on the matter and we did not have the mandate to speak on behalf of the entire province,” Maphosa said.
“We told them that most places in the province were remote and had no access to newspapers and the numbers were evident that information had not reached the people.
“One of the legislators tried to convince us that if they left they would not come back, but it was not possible to discuss the matter because they were not only late but there was no representation from all districts.”
Maphosa disputed allegations that there were threats of violence at the meeting.
“The police were there so there was never going to be any violence. No one was threatened,” he said.
“It was not only Zanu PF at the meeting, there were members of other parties and we were unanimous in our decision that the meeting could not go on,”
Sibanda who is also provincial secretary for administration, was not reachable for comment.
Party provincial chairman Richard Moyo said, “I am hearing this for the first time. I am not aware of the incident.”