KWEKWE — A Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter (Misa)-sponsored public debate on Friday pitting aspiring House of Assembly candidates nearly degenerated into a fight following a verbal exchange between MDC-T’s Blessing Chebundo and Zanu PF’s Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo.
The two are facing off for the second time for the Kwekwe Central constituency seat. Matambanadzo lost in the 2008 harmonised elections.
Trouble started when Chebundo, a legislator for 13 years, in his closing remarks branded Matambanadzo an empty vessel dipping in an equally empty dam of Zanu PF ideologies.
“I want to thank Misa for organising this wonderful public debate, the first of its kind in Kwekwe. This is my first time to sit side-by-side with Matambanadzo. Although I have known him and beat him in the last election, we have only matched wits for the first time today.
“Without taking anything from him, I think he is empty and he is trying to roll out an empty Zanu PF manifesto to win the elections,” Chebundo said, before he was cut short by Matambanadzo.
Matambanadzo was not amused to have been called empty in front of over 100 members of the public and media who had attended the public and Press conference.
“You are getting personal and trying to provoke me. You are trying to make statements which will trigger violence. How dare you call me empty?” Matambanadzo charged, backed by his supporters.
Organisers had to move in to quell tempers that were spiralling out of control and had to close the debate before Chebundo could finish his closing remarks.
The two aspiring legislators, however, later shook hands and hugged each other at the end of the debate while supporters from the two parties shared drinks afterwards.
Matambanadzo promised to open a gold mining company that would be owned by the city council and use the profits to wipe out a $26 million debt owed to the local authority by residents and ratepayers.
“That money will also be used to pay out salaries to the elderly like the mayor there (Shadreck Tobaiwa, who attended the debate) so that we make life easy for them,” he said.
Chebundo said his main aim was to end the culture of impunity and the plunder of State resources by political players at the expense of bringing genuine development and investment to communities.