Political tension has gripped Harare and events unfolding this week could mark the beginning of serious political clashes and violence in the capital.
Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone, who is MP for Harare North, has been stopped from constructing a market place in Hatcliffe in her constituency by rowdy Zanu PF youths who told her point blank that they did not recognise her as their MP and therefore would not accept her projects in the area.
Efforts by the minister, who was accompanied to the site of the project by council officials, including the deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, to proceed with the project failed when they found the area fenced off by uncompromising Zanu PF youths.
Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee chairperson, Jaison Pasadi, confirmed the standoff and reiterated his party’s position that they would not allow MDC projects in the city because he claimed some of the projects had been initiated by Zanu PF before the inclusive government came into place.
The former ruling party has this week declared it no longer recognised MDC public officials saying the inclusive government which ushered them into governance was due to expire on February 15, together with their “terms of office”.
“These projects are a brainchild of Zanu PF,” Pasadi said in an interview with NewsDay. “We will not allow MDC-T to put icing on a cake they did not bake.”
Pasadi said Zanu PF was powerful and did not care what minister Makone was trying to say about the Hatcliffe project.
“It is a Zanu PF project,” he said.
The development comes at a time political violence has reared its ugly head again in Mbare where Zanu PF youths yesterday stoned the MDC-T office in the politically volatile township.
“Zanu PF is powerful and we are carrying conference and congress resolutions to empower our people. We don’t need MDC to empower us as we have our own structures to deal with in implementing our resolutions,” said Pasadi.
“They (MDC-T) bank on that they have councillors to help them and we bank on our own power as a party to empower our own people,” he said.
Deputy Mayor, Emmanuel Chiroto, who is the councillor for Hatcliffe where Makone’s project is, said Zanu PF had bussed in youths into Hatcliffe to camp at the site.
On Wednesday, minister Makone took up the issue with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo who then convened a meeting to discuss the matter with the mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, Makone and Chiroto.
“We had a meeting with the mayor, minister (Chombo) and minister Makone to look at the matter and we agreed to allow the market project to go ahead,” Chiroto said.
Recently in Mabvuku, Zanu PF youths made it clear that Elliot Mahara who lost to MDC-T’s Casper Takura in council elections, was the person they recognised as their councillor.
In Mbare, Jim Kunaka, Zanu PF youth chairman for Harare province, declared himself the councillor for Ward 3, an area under the jurisdiction of elected councillor Paul Gorekore of MDC-T.
Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, has described Zanu PF activists disrupting council projects as “misguided lose canons trying to politicise the project”.