TWO Zanu PF activists were reportedly arrested after violence erupted at the party’s Bulawayo provincial headquarters on Friday over the expulsion of former youth chairperson Butholezwe Gatsi.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma Staff Reporter
Gatsi was expelled from his post early this year for allegedly leaking deliberations of a national youth executive meeting to members of the politburo.
The alleged violence occurred on the day party leader President Robert Mugabe was in the city to preside over a graduation ceremony at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).
Eight people were reportedly injured during the skirmishes, while two others were arrested in connection with the violence.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that after the violent scenes on Friday, a decision was made to dissolve the entire youth wing.
Violence broke out when members of the national youth executive visited the city to preside over the election of a new provincial chairperson after Gatsi’s demotion was confirmed by the Zanu PF politburo last month.
On Wednesday, the national youth executive comprising of political commissar Mike Gava, secretary for finance Obert Mutasa, secretary for security John Mushayi, secretary for information and publicity Bekezela Sibanda, director of youth affairs Tapiwa Zengeya and former Bulawayo youth chairperson Khumbulani Mlilo, met the provincial youth executive to notify them of the election.
“However, they were resisted by some co-opted members who demanded to know how and why Gatsi had been demoted before talking about elections,” said a source. “They also opposed the proposal that the party’s districts vote in the election of the chairman.”
The insider alleged Gatsi met the youths at a local hotel to strategise over the matter.
“At the second meeting on Thursday to get requirements on the elections, some of the youths boycotted the meeting and moved from the boardroom to the veranda where they ate isitshwala,” said the party insider. “The youths were told that the following day, the national executive wanted to meet the top six of the youth league to discuss the elections. Some of the national league members went to Nust.
“At around 3pm, they got information that there was chaos at Davies Hall (Zanu PF provincial headquarters) as there were 13 bouncers, 35 war veterans and 28 war collaborators aligned to Gatsi causing chaos in the office and blocking members of the top six provincial youth executive from entering the premises,” he said.
The source said the intention of the “gang” was to disturb the meeting and when a vehicle carrying the national youth executive arrived at Davies Hall, it was pelted with stones.
“The Isuzu truck was damaged after being pelted with stones. Gava and Mutasa also sustained injuries from the skirmishes that lasted up to 7pm,” he claimed.
“Ordinary people were also affected. Two people have since been arrested over the matter.”
No comment could be obtained from the police as Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo said he was engaged at Barbourfields Stadium at a football game between Caps United and Dynamos.
Officer Commanding CID Law and Order Section Southern Region, Chief Superintendent Patrick Moyo, also declined to comment on the matter, saying if an arrest had been made, it was not the CID who effected it, but members of the uniformed police.
Contacted for comment, Gatsi said: “I do not know anything about the noise because I was not there. I got there at 4pm and left.
“What I heard is that those who were involved have been arrested. Those implicating me have an agenda against me. People just hate me. I think the day I die, they will celebrate,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Gava were fruitless as he continuously said he was in a meeting.