Harare, (New Ziana)–Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda on Wednesday blocked attempts by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) to debate the case of Dr Peter Magombeyi who was allegedly abducted by some unknown persons last week and resurfaced five days later.
Advocate Mudenda ruled that the matter was still sub-judice and could not be debated in Parliament, but MDC-A legislators insisted it was not.
Magombeyi, the acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) became a star attraction when he went missing last week, before re-surfacing unharmed at Nyabira, some 30 kilometers north west of the capital.
There are various conspiracy theories around his disappearance with his colleagues and the opposition claiming state security agents had abducted him, while the government has insisted it was not involved as it could not afford to do so in light of the engagement and re-engagement efforts that it is pursuing.
Magombeyi had been leading a protest by government doctors who are pushing for a review of their conditions service.
Following the drama, the doctor has since his return indicated that he wants to travel to South Africa to get specialist treatment, alleging that he was tortured by his captors.
But the police are blocking him to allow for investigations into his case to be completed.
Dr Magombeyi has been attended to by a team of local private and government doctors to ascertain his state, though results still remain classified.
The High Court on Tuesday ordered the law enforcers to allow him to go but they appealed against the order.
During Wednesday’s question and answer session, MDC-A parliamentarians brought Dr Magombeyi’s issue through the back door, at first asking the acting leader of government business, Agriculture Minister Perence Shiri if it was policy for government to decide where citizens should be treated.
“Government has no say in terms of where an individual receives medical attention, it is up to the patient to decide depending on whether they can afford it,” Shiri said.
After the response another MDC-A legislator, Murisi Zwizwai specifically asked why the government, through the police was blocking Dr Magombeyi from leaving for South Africa.
There was noise in the house with both sides of the house inaudibly shouting, arguing about the matter until Adv Mudenda intervened.
“Honourable Members, read your Standing Orders they are very clear,” he said.
“…This matter has gone to the courts. Let us wait and hear what the courts will say.”
But MDC-A legislators Job Sikhala and Innocent Gonese, both of whom are lawyers, protested against the ruling, insisting the matter had been finalised and was therefore not sub judice.
“The court has given an order for the doctor to go and get treatment in South Africa,” Sikhala insisted.
But Adv Mudenda stuck to his guns, ruling: “There is still some contestation and I will not allow the matter to be discussed.”
The High Court was yet to deliver its ruling on the police appeal against its earlier decision to allow Dr Magombeyi to travel.