ZIMBABWE: State Security Agents Threaten MPs For Heckling Mugabe

File: City Press

Zimbabwe's state security agents reportedly threatened legislators from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) with unspecified action, after accusing them of embarrassing President Robert Mugabe by heckling him during his state of the nation address (Sona) on Tuesday.

Mugabe was booed and heckled by opposition lawmakers over the country's deteriorating economy.

MPs from the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai questioned his economic policies, jeering as the 91-year-old delivered a policy speech which lasted less than half an hour.

As Mugabe outlined his government's plan to improve the economy, one lawmaker yelled at him to admit that "you can't do much about it".

Mugabe presented a 10-point plan which included boosting agricultural growth, encouraging private sector investment and fighting graft.

As the veteran leader concluded his address, the MPs stood up and drowned the chamber with the derisive chants "Zanu yaora" (Zanu-PF is now rotten).

MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that MPs from his party had received threats from the state security agents, according to New

"They were threatened both in the chamber and outside the chamber by some Zanu-PF MPs who are well known to come from the security establishments," Mwonzora was quoted as saying.

Mwonzora slammed the threats as unacceptable.

"It is permissible in a parliamentary democracy to heckle; it is also permissible to bring somebody to book.... These Members of Parliament were reacting to the lack of content and imagination in President Mugabe's speech; they were reacting to an unfathomable degree of mediocrity displayed and therefore they were within their rights," Mwonzora said.

Meanwhile the State-run Herald newspaper reported that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, issued his own threats following the events during the Sona.

Mudenda, the report said, read the riot act to "rowdy" MPs, threatening that those who behaved badly faced suspension from attending parliament for the whole session. Parliament's session is usually a year long.

Mudenda urged MPs to express themselves through formal debate.

Mudenda also banned singing in parliament.
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