By Daniel Chigundu
NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa has castigated Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko for demanding the release of Zanu PF youths who were arrested for violence in Bulawayo a few weeks ago.
The youths were trying to stop the Bulawayo Provincial executive from meeting, accusing the leadership of being aligned to under fire party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Adding his voice in the National Assembly to a motion on acts of violence and terror against innocent people, raised by Buhera West legislator Oliver Mandipaka, Mliswa said the VP should lead by example.
“I also want to talk about Zanu PF where in Bulawayo, Lacoste and G40; even the Vice President himself was involved. So, if you are having a leader at that level getting involved in violence, even going to the police station, where are we going as a country?
“So, to me you have a situation where it is political parties – more so Zanu PF is the party that is actually governing the country, they should lead by example. If I go through the Constitution here, it is very clear as to the functions of the Commissioner General, the functions of the police. It does not talk about the Vice President being in charge of the police but it talks about the President appointing the Commissioner General, in consultation with the Minister.
“The Vice President has got the power to send the Minister to go and check but he decides to go himself. What message are we sending to the nation because he belongs to a faction within the party that has been beaten up and he is now going to defend them? It is totally unacceptable and I think it is important that we have leaders who lead by example.
“What is then happening is that these young people end up being more violent, because they are getting protection from the Presidium. So, if you are getting protection from the Presidium, why should I stop fighting?
Mliswa said the VP is dividing the nation because of his political interest as it was not the first time for him to storm to a police station and demand the release of people.
The fitness trainer-cum-politician said VP Mphoko’s conduct is forcing the police to be partisan indirectly in violation of Section 219(3) of the country’s constitution.
“It is not the first time, if you go through the Constitution, it is very clear about the role of the police – Section 219 (3), the police service must be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to civilian authority as establish by this Constitution.
“So, you are now getting the police to be partisan when they should be non-partisan because they work on instructions. When they see the Vice President they have no choice but to salute and take the instruction, but is that what the Constitution says?
“…To me, we must not mince our words when we come to this situation because the act of violence in political parties, intra party can also affect any of you especially on the Zanu PF side, where the factions are even more dominant than any other party,” he said.-