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111th ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION - page 3 / 60

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A.OBJECTIVE AND CONDUCT OF THE MISSION

The communications concerning those opposition members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe whose cases gave rise to the mission were referred to the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in successive stages.  The first case to be submitted to it was the case of Mr. Justin Mutendadzamera in January 2001.  One year later, at its 96th session (January 2002), the Committee was seized of the case of Mr. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube.  When it received complaints concerning five more opposition members of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, (Mr. David Mpala, Mr. Abednico Bhebhe, Mr. Peter Nyoni, Mr. David Coltart and Mr. Moses Mzila Ndlovu), the Committee decided to merge all these cases and to bring them to the attention of the IPU Governing Council in a public report.  The Committee took this decision in view of the fact that these cases not only raised concerns of systematic harassment of opposition members, but also of ill-treatment in detention and impunity.  Only once, in April 2001 had the Speaker of Parliament at a hearing held on the occasion of the 105th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union provided information about the case of Mr. Mutendadzamera 1, and the Committee therefore also considered that it lacked official information.  

In view of this situation, in September 2002 the Governing Council requested the Committee to carry out an on-site mission with the mandate to gather from the competent parliamentary, governmental, judicial and administrative authorities, as well as from the MPs concerned, their families and lawyers, as much information as possible on their situation.  The Council requested the IPU Secretary General to take the necessary steps for the mission to go ahead as soon as possible.  

At its 100th session (January 2003), the Committee declared admissible the cases of Mr. Roy Bennett, Mr. Job Sikhala and Mr. Tichaona Munyanyi and decided to include them in the mission’s mandate.   

By letter dated 3 June 2003, the Speaker declared that the mission was welcome and agreed to the date proposed, namely 23 to 27 June 2003.  At its 102nd session (710 June 2003), the Committee welcomed the development and requested the Secretary General to prepare the mission.  At the same session, the Committee had before it complaints concerning twelve more opposition MPs, namely Ms. Pauline Mpariwa, Ms. Trudy Stevenson, Ms. Evelyn Masaiti, Mr. Tendai Biti, Mr. Gabriel Chaibva, Mr. Paul Madzore, Mr. Giles Mutsekwa, Mr. Austin Mpandawana, Mr. Milton Gwetu, Mr. Silas Mangono, Mr. Edwin Mushoriwa and Mr. Gibson Sibanda.  Having declared them admissible, the Committee decided to include them within the mission mandate.  Finally, in October 2003, complaints concerning six other opposition MPs, namely Ms. Thokozani Khupe, Mr. Willias Madzimure, Mr. Fidelis Mhashu, Mr. Tumbare Mutasa, Mr. Gilbert Shoko and Mr. Jelous Sansole were referred to the Committee which, having declared them admissible, also included them in the mission mandate.

On 19 June 2003, the Parliament of Zimbabwe informed the Secretary General that the Speaker had not received clearance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the mission to go ahead from 23 to 27 June 2003.  A new date, 4 to 8 August 2003, was then suggested and approved by Parliament.  However, at the Parliament’s request, the mission had again to be postponed.  It also proved impossible to carry out the mission at the next date proposed, 25 to 30 January 2004.  Finally, in January 2004 the parliamentary authorities suggested that the visit take place in March 2004.  

The Committee which initially had asked its titular member of the African region, Mr. Mahamane Ousmane, President of the National Assembly of Niger, to lead the delegation, was repeatedly obliged to change the composition of the delegation because of the changes to the mission dates.

The delegation met with the following persons:

(a)Parliamentary authorities

-Mr. E.D. Mnangagwa, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe

-Mr. Austin Zvoma, Secretary General of Parliament

-Mr. G. Sibanda, Leader of the Opposition

-Mr. J. McD. Gumbo, Government Chief Whip

1 Subsequently, in March, June and September 2003, reports drawn up by the Police Headquarters, relating to some of the cases in question, were referred to the Committee.  

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