A public meeting organised by a local think-tank to debate Sadcs recent resolution on the Zimbabwe crisis last week degenerated into a no-holds-barred verbal altercation as representatives of the three main political parties went into fiery and undiplomatic exchanges.
The showdown involved Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF), Tendai Biti (MDC-T) and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC).
Although not part of the panel, Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo joined the fray and attracted verbal missiles from representatives of the MDCs.
MisihairabwiMushonga got into Moyos line of fire in the highly charged debate when she accused the Tsholotsho MP of attempting to sidetrack people from the issues at hand.
Moyo stirred a storm with claims that the Sadc Troika was an inferior body whose resolutions the Sadc Summit could easily ignore.
The Troika reports to the Summit and the Luanda communiqu came from the summit, a superior body. If all the reforms are not in the communiqu, it means they were not noted by the summit, Moyo said.
But Misihairabwi-Mushonga shot back: You are good at that professor, I know you. You deliberately bring up another issue to sidetrack people so that the real issue is not discussed and people start debating trivial issues.
She continued: Professor Moyo, there is something called being a sour loser and you remember we had the same debate about noted or endorsed after Sandton (South Africa).
The report is circulated after presentation and if one has an issue, they raise it at summit and it is debated. If no objections are raised, it means everyone has endorsed and that is what happened.
You are so skilled in diverting attention.You have no monopoly to abuse and lie to the people, she added, much to Moyos indignation who jerked out of his seat seemingly to turn the verbal showdown physical.
A visibly angry Moyo repeatedly shouted: I dont like that.
South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela, was not spared either after he said the summit communiqu was simply a political statement and that South African President Jacob Zuma was actually coming to help with an implementation matrix on an array of issues submitted to the summit by the Troika.
The remarks irked Moyo, who retorted: To suggest that there were anecdotes and things that were said and done including jokes that do not appear in the final report (but are important) is unfair, undiplomatic and unheard of.
We are talking about the future of a country here. It is not only unfair but unreasonable and unacceptable.
Ibbo Mandaza, who chaired the panel, had a hard time keeping tempers in check.
He kept pleading with participants to: take it cool.