MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai caused a stir in Harare’s Budiriro high-density suburb yesterday when he stormed a Zanu PF “terror base” to investigate the violent clashes that occurred in the area over the weekend involving youths from both parties.
Tempers flared up in the high-density suburb when after meeting party supporters at local MP Costa Machingauta’s house, Tsvangirai’s motorcade sped towards the Zanu PF “terror base” at Budiriro 4 shopping centre, in the process disrupting a netball match involving some middle-aged women clad in Zanu PF regalia.
Upon realising that Tsvangirai was part of the crowd, the Zanu PF women started shouting at him and demanding that he should leave.
Tsvangirai briefly inspected the “terror base” from a safe distance and drove off before the situation degenerated into chaos.
Tsvangirai’s visit followed weekend skirmishes which allegedly left three MDC-T supporters seriously injured while several others were arrested and charged with causing the clashes. Zanu PF also claims several of its supporters were injured in the melee.
Addressing party supporters at Machingauta’s home, Tsvangirai appealed for tolerance among supporters of various political parties.
The former Premier also appealed to MDC-T youths to remain calm but steadfast in their quest to dislodge Zanu PF from power through the ballot box.
“I am here in solidarity with victims of violence in this constituency. It’s a sad development because we thought that after 2013, the issue of violence was past us,” Tsvangirai said.
“It’s a country in crisis and it needs no violence. If at one point we sat together and brought a government of national unity, why resort to these tactics now?”
He said youths from across the political divide were not only victims of political violence, but of government failure.
“I am here to make a statement that you should stop political violence now. We don’t need it. Your first task MP (Machingauta) is to go and see the Zanu PF leaders to stop the violence in Budiriro. You are MP for the area and you have the right to do that,” Tsvangirai said.
“If violence is allowed to spread, with the people starving like this, you won’t control it.”
After the meeting, he drove towards Zanu PF’s makeshift campaign base where ruling party activists led by Harare provincial youth leader Godwin Gomwe hold their meetings.
The offices have been named as Tabudirira district Zanu PF sub-office.
The ruling party activists have erected a perimeter fence around the office from where they allegedly collect money from vendors, kombi operators and stall holders operating in the area daily.
Tsvangirai interacted with vendors who claimed they were being forced to pay $1 a day at the Zanu PF office to be allowed to sell their wares at the business centre.
Local MDC-T councillor Panganai Charumbira told Tsvangirai the local authority had been rendered powerless by rogue Zanu PF elements who were now “a law unto themselves.”
“It’s now beyond us. There is too much political interference and no one is listening to council,” Charumbira said.