Business ground to a standstill at the Mutare Civic Centre last Friday after armed Zanu PF supporters stormed and disrupted the monthly full council meeting.
According to a source at Mutare Municipal Council, close to 20 Zanu PF youths armed with iron bars and knobkerries stormed the council chambers singing revolutionary songs.
The youths were allegedly accusing the MDC-T-led council of disrespecting President Robert Mugabe who was addressing his supporters at the 11th Zanu PF annual conference held in the city.
Contacted for comment, Mutare deputy mayor George Jerison described the behaviour by the Zanu PF activists as barbaric and retrogressive.
He said such behaviour was detrimental to development.
“It is deplorable that Zanu PF youths chose to disrupt council business in such a manner.
“As the elected council we were doing what we were called to do by the residents and the Zanu PF conference is a political event that should not compromise council business. Honestly, there is no reason to stop council business because of a party conference.
“This behaviour demonstrates that these people have no respect for the residents of Mutare and their councillors. This is one of the reasons why the electorate refused to vote for them as they can’t offer anything to the electorate except their violent behaviour,” said Jerison.
A source told NewsDay: “They wanted to force the MDC-T councillors to abandon the council meeting and join the Zanu PF conference which was being held at Marymount Teachers College. They were shouting abusive words at the mayor and his team for disrespecting the Zanu PF conference. However, by the time they stormed into the council chambers the meeting was almost over and one councillor was about to give a prayer to mark the end of the meeting.”
The youths failed to respect the prayer and continued singing their revolutionary songs and shouting insolent words at the full council.
Mutare council is led by 16 MDC-T-elected councillors and an additional four special interest councillors from Zanu PF appointed by Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo.
Initially the council had 19 MDC-T councillors, but two of them died while a third one resigned.
Efforts to contact war veterans’ leaders were unsuccessful yesterday and a man who answered the phone at the Zanu PF party’s provincial offices in Mutare flatly refused to cooperate.
“We don’t know what you are talking about and there is no reason for me to transfer your call to anyone else because no one wants to entertain such questions. In fact, everyone is busy here,” the man said without identifying himself.