Pan African Parliament agrees on mission to Zim

In an unprecedented poll by show of hands, the Pan African Parliament (PAP) voted overwhelming on Friday to send a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

Suzanne Vos, a member of the South African delegation to the PAP, proposed a motion asking for a debate on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and that the PAP send a fact-finding mission to that country.

After more than an hour’s discussion—during which some country representatives deplored the violence in Zimbabwe, especially against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, while others said the issue was due to the interference of Western powers—the issue was put to the vote.

Normally, the parliamentarians vote simply by bashing their desks, but this time they were asked to vote by a show of hands.

The fact-finding mission was approved by 149 of the members with only 29, including most of the Zimbabwean delegation, voting against it.

Details on when the delegation will leave and of whom it will consist are still to be decided.

In the latest worrying news from Zimbabwe, the country’s state power utility sought to allay fears on Thursday of wide power cuts, saying households would not automatically see daily power cuts but would not be guaranteed supplies during the winter cropping season.

Zesa Holdings, which on Wednesday warned of 20-hour daily power cuts to homes across the country, on Thursday said the cuts would be subject to demand from wheat farmers who need electricity to irrigate their crops.—Sapa, Reuters

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