CHAOS rocked the Zanu PF provincial congress held at Masvingo Polytechnic College over the weekend, as protesting party members denied entry into the venue fought running battles with police.
REPORT BY TATENDA CHITAGU OWN CORRESPONDENT
Police had to unleash dogs on the marauding party members after they allegedly turned violent, threatening to storm the closed-door meeting.
Two party youths, George Mudukuti (Jr), son of national hero and former Masvingo North MP George Mudukuti, and Tapiwa Mukaro, were arrested, but later released without charge.
Several other party supporters, including Mudukuti, sustained injuries after police set dogs on them to quell the disturbances. They were treated at Masvingo General Hospital.
Contacted for comment, Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Peter Zhanero declined to comment, referring all questions to his bosses in Harare.
However, Zanu PF politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire confirmed the incident which happened on Saturday and apologised to party members.
“As the party leadership here, we apologise to our party members over the incident.
“I do not subscribe to violence and I believe if people have problems, they should solve them amicably,” Mavhaire said.
“It is wrong, and very wrong, to arrest party supporters and set dogs on them. Since when has Zanu PF used dogs against its people? That is not solving issues. The provincial leadership should consult the people, from whom the party finds its strength. It is known that district structures in Masvingo are in shambles. There was manipulation of district structures through the disbanded DCCs (district co-ordinating committees) by people fighting for power.”
Sources said the chaos started after some bona fide district and ward officials were barred from attending the meeting under unclear circumstances.
“Some real chairpersons were denied entry while others imposed by unknown party members were allowed access. This prompted some party members to start singing protest songs demanding an audience with the provincial leadership. But instead of addressing their concerns, riot police and police from the dog section were called to disperse them.”