Zanu PF takes over Harare

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Suspected Zanu PF youths have literally taken over Harare by invading almost all council properties, car parks, ranks, markets and open spaces meant for council projects.

The party apparatchiks — who are members of the infamous Mbare-based Chipangano group — last year declared they were taking over what “rightly belonged” to them. The group violently ejected perceived MDC-T supporters from Mbare’s Mupedzanhamo flea market last year, and last month they invaded Machipisa market in Highfield. Most disturbing, however, is that the gang is violent and was beating up everyone opposing them.

Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone yesterday said she had given up on the rogue Zanu PF youths as she could not do anything to stop them as her own constituency has been besieged.

Makone said her efforts to utilise her Constituency Development Fund (CDF) had been thwarted by the Zanu PF activists who had built a base allegedly meant to torture opposition supporters.

The minister’s constituency is home to Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, who has also threatened to quit over the invasions.

Makone said: “In my constituency there is chaos and Zanu PF youths have finished building a base and there is nothing I can do to stop their invasions. I and the deputy mayor are in the same area and we have a problem. When I wanted to develop they denied me.
“There is nothing we can do unless Jomic forwarded by Sadc comes to help.”

Yesterday, a commuter omnibus driver was assaulted for allegedly assisting his colleague to file a police report against some members of the gang who had assaulted him.

The driver made a report at Harare Central Police Station, but a police officer who responded to the incident was allegedly also assaulted by the gang. The driver, only identified as Actor, was allegedly stopped from loading his vehicle by the gang as punishment for assisting his friend who also plies the City–Mount Pleasant route.

The Chipangano gang allegedly took over the rank three months ago and have been demanding drivers and conductors to pay, at times $1, for each trip.
“They are very violent and do not hesitate to beat up anyone who questions their authority. If you raise your voice you also risk being banned from carrying passengers,” said a driver who refused to be named.

“They are virtually untouchable because they claim to have protection from senior Zanu PF officials.”

The council chairperson for housing and community services, Charles Nyatsuro, said the city authorities remained worried that Zanu PF had taken over while the police were doing nothing to stop them.

Said Nyatsuro: “We have a big problem with these (Zanu PF) youths who have become a law unto themselves. We have given up and asked the mayor and the town clerk to engage the Local Government minister (Ignatius Chombo) and the two co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi, over this issue.

“Council is losing revenue as in Mbare, for example, our police are not allowed to collect money and not wanted inside the rank. This has become a political matter and we cannot control what is happening without government assistance. They are just grabbing what they want.”

On Monday, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo disowned the rogue party youths saying: “These are members of the opposition who are trying to soil the good image of our party. This Chipangano group does not belong to us.”

But, party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa recently claimed responsibility for the violence that rocked Parliament Building, attributed to Zanu PF youths saying they would defend them if they were arrested.