Budiriro MP Costa Machingauta is reportedly battling for his life at a private clinic in Harare after he, together with at least 10 other opposition activists, were brutally assaulted by suspected Zanu PF youths on Thursday.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The MDC-T legislator was coming from a No Reforms, No Elections rally at Glen View 3 shops which was addressed by the main opposition party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai when he and other party supporters were severely assaulted by the marauding mob.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday confirmed the incident, but said there was no mention of Machingauta.
“Yes, we received that report of people who were assaulted, but there was no mention of any MP,” said Charamba.
She further said according to information they had, there was also no mention of Zanu PF.
But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday accused Zanu PF supporters of maiming the MP and others and said perpetrators should be brought to book.
“The MP had been called by party members at Budiriro shops when Zanu PF thugs asked why he was wearing an MDC T-shirt,” Tamborinyoka said.
“The MDC members tried in vain to explain to the thugs that he was an MP, but the thugs would not listen and began assaulting the party supporters and the MP with fists and iron bars. The MP was seriously injured and a report made at Budiriro 2 Police Station before Machingauta was driven at around midnight for treatment to a private clinic in Harare.”
Tsvangirai visited Machingauta yesterday where he expressed concern over the rising violence saying this vindicates his party’s position not to participate in the forthcoming by-elections in such a “toxic” environment.
In previous elections and particularly in Mbare, Zanu PF ran a youth militia, Chipangano, which terrorised perceived opposition supporters.
Rights group Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) said it was concerned by what happened in Budiriro.
“Heal Zimbabwe Trust condemns the assault of Honourable Costa Machingauta, an MDC-T National Assembly representative for Budiriro, as well as 10 other party supporters by alleged Zanu PF supporters on 23 April 2015,” the human rights group said in a statement.
According to HZT, the attack was in direct violation of Section 67 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which promotes the upholding of political rights where free participation in any political party is guaranteed.
“The victimisation come hardly a week after the assault of Sidney Chisi (director of Youth in Democracy Initiative of Zimbabwe), a human rights activist, by police officers after the anti-xenophobia protest at the South African embassy last week,” added HZT.