By John Chimunhu|
Human rights defender Claris Madhuku was on Tuesday removed from parliament by Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives who accused him of planning protests in the chamber.
Madhuku is the director of Platform for Youth Development (PYD), a Manicaland-based pressure group campaigning for the land rights of thousands of families displaced by pro-Mugabe businessman Billy Rautenbach’s Greenfuel/Macdom ethanol project in Chisumbanje.
“I am just being released from the Harare central police station after four hours of interrogation by the CIO officers,” Madhuku said on Tuesday night. “I was picked up at 2 pm when I had checked in to sit at the gallery in the national assembly. Those who picked me questioned my interest in travelling all the way from Chipinge simply to attend parliament.”
Madhuku said he was in parliament in response to a notice by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena that an official report on the Chisumbanje ethanol project would be discussed in parliament this week.
Madhuku said the hostile CIO operatives confiscated his mobile phone and ordered him to report to them on Wednesday.
The incident has sparked outrage. Human rights activists accused Zanu PF speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda of violating the constitution by inviting Mugabe’s notoriously brutal secret police to harass the public in the house. Mudenda invited the CIO recently to torture members of the Occupy Africa Unity Square protest group inside parliament after they disrupted a session, calling on Mugabe to leave office.
Madhuku and the Chisumbanje villagers have faced beatings, illegal detention and destruction of property by Rautenbach’s paid agents, who include police, CIO and Zanu PF militias. Recently, the police carried out an orgy of terror in Chisumbanje against villagers accused of resisting the businessman’s attempts to seize more land from them without compensation.
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