Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni was yesterday grilled in the National Assembly over an incident in Siganda, Tsholotsho, where police officers allegedly pounced on women at a kitchen tea party brandishing guns and teargassed them.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Lwazi Sibanda (MDC-T Proportional Representation) had asked Mguni to explain if it was government policy to bar kitchen tea parties.
“Section 219 of the Constitution says the police must detect and prevent crime, preserve security, protect lives and property, maintain law and order and call into order wherever there is disorder, and so, we will use the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) in any gathering with more than five people, depending on the type of gathering,” he responded. “I have never received any reports concerning a kitchen tea meeting, but if there was noise at that party, then the police will arrest.”
Leader of the opposition in the House Thokozani Khupe then asked Mguni to explain if private meetings held at homesteads were now illegal.
“There was no noise at the kitchen tea party, but the police decided to bring teargas and guns,” she said.
Sibanda further asked Mguni to explain how Posa was applied on private gatherings like kitchen tea parties.
“If people at that gathering exchanged wrong words and disturbed other people, then they have a right to report the issue,” he said.
In an unrelated question, Khupe asked Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya to explain what her ministry was doing to ensure girls have free sanitary wear so that they attend school, and also programmes in her ministry to disseminate information on cancer.
Chikwinya said they had contracted two companies that had volunteered to provide sanitary towels for girls.
However, she said one of the companies would provide them for free while the other said they would charge 50 cents instead of a dollar for a packet.
But Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) retorted: “Condoms are available for free, but sanitary wear is not free. Condom money is always there and so why is there no money for sanitary wear? Menstruation is nature and these things of free sanitary wear cannot be delayed.”