PHOTOS: Zim MP's snazzy 'flag' blazer gets him barred from parliament

2016-10-08 09:00
File: AP

File: AP

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Harare - One guess as to what got up the Zimbabwe ruling party's nose about THIS snazzy blazer?

Red, white, green, yellow and black: you got it. It looks a bit too much like Zimbabwe's national flag.

Movement for Democratic Change legislator Trevor Saruwaka was refused entry to parliament on Thursday for wearing this witty creation because it "resembled the national flag", he said on Facebook. Not that it wasn't supposed to, of course.

Saruwaka (and his tailor) were undoubtedly making a point about Mugabe's party's fear of what until this year was a symbol of unquestioning support for the ageing president: the flag.

The #ThisFlag anti-government movement, which started in April, has now made the flag a sign of brave opposition to everything Zanu-PF represents. So the government has revived legislation that makes it a crime to "abuse" the national flag. As lawyers have pointed out, it's been left up to the government to define what constitutes abuse.

Saruwaka (who's previously got into trouble for trying to drape the Zimbabwe flag round his neck in parliament), wrote on Facebook: "Today at parliament before I was barred from entering bcz my jacket resembled the national flag. What a shame! Patriotism has been criminalised by Robert Mugabe n his surrogates."

See pictures below. 

Critics of Mugabe sprang to the MP's defence, with one posting: "They even fear their own shadows."

But Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo said in a tweet that Saruwaka being denied entry "was for being inappropriately dressed. Even bush lawyers & fools know that Parliament has a dress code. It's in the standing orders!"

The #ThisFlag movement has lost steam in recent days following a police ban on demonstrations and a couple of horrifying cases of alleged torture of activists.

But there are still brave attempts to defy Mugabe and his party's hold on power. 

Newsday reported this week that a Chitungwiza man had filed a court challenge to the display of the president's picture in the courtroom, saying the judiciary was obliged to maintain "an appearance of independence".

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