Zanu PF activist Emma Machingura — who was splashed on the front page of NewsDay last week as one of the party’s supporters who besieged Parliament Building and disrupted the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill public hearings — stormed NewsDay offices on Friday, denying she was violent and demanded a share of the paper’s sales after her picture appeared in the paper.
Machingura’s arrival at the offices was dramatic. After demanding audience with “the real authorities of the paper”, it took Alpha Media Holdings’ Human Resources Manager Loud Ramakgapola to cool her down. But this was just the first phase of her antics.
The activist — who claimed to having been a detainee during the liberation war — then demanded to see NewsDay Editor Brian Mangwende. For about 30 minutes, Mangwende was at pains, justifying how the paper got the story.
But, Machingura stuck to her own version of what transpired.
“We entered Parliament Building peacefully, participated in the meeting peacefully and left in peace. No hooliganism ever took place. I was shocked to see myself in the paper the following day, being labelled a hooligan,” said the 56-year-old Zanu PF apparatchik.
“I managed to cool her down,” said Mangwende after the marathon meeting with Machingura.
However, the Zanu PF activist was not finished yet and went on to demand to see the writer of the story, Senior Parliamentary Reporter Veneranda Langa.
Fortunately (in the circumstances), Langa was out of office at the time. “She is the real culprit who I want an explanation from. How dare she write such blatant lies? No MP was ever assaulted, no journalist was harassed and proceedings went on well,” she fumed.
Nevertheless, her denials are in sharp contrast to the admission by House of Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo that violence indeed rocked Parliament Building during the hearings where MP Brian Tshuma (MDC-T) and journalists Aaron Ufumeli of NewsDay and The Financial Gazette’s Levi Mukarati were assaulted.
“This violence continues to keep Zimbabwe high up on the international relations scene for all the wrong reasons. This is yet another unhelpful entry on the long ledger of the political culture of intolerance, violence, and the sanctioning of criminal hordes to do the dirty work of those who cherish violence,” Moyo said at a Press conference last week.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said the party would defend its activists, “even if it means hiring lawyers for them”.
“We will defend them, they are our members,” Mutasa said. The violence at Parliament was sharply criticised by the Sadc facilitation team on Zimbabwe.
“Sadc leaders have been calling for an end to violence and the implementation of the GPA and it does not matter where the violence is coming from, it should not be tolerated,” said the facilitation team’s spokesperson, Lindiwe Zulu.