SIX traditional leaders from Hurungwe West constituency in Mashonaland West Province were allegedly assaulted by Zanu PF youths at a campaign rally on Sunday, NewsDay has established.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/NUNURAI JENA
Two of the headmen are reportedly missing after they were accused of backing former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chair Temba Mliswa.
Mliswa — who is running as an independents candidate after he was expelled from Zanu PF — confirmed the incident yesterday.
He accused Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo of inciting youths to assault the headmen in the presence of party supporters.
The ruling party functionaries also invaded Mliswa’s Spring Farm in Karoi, claiming the farm belonged to Zanu PF.
Mliswa, who until October last year was Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and the ruling party’s MP for Hurungwe West, singled out Chombo and central committee member Phillip Chiyangwa, accusing them of sponsoring violence.
Hurungwe West is one of the 18 constituencies where by-elections will be held on June 10.
“Yesterday, Sunday 26th April 2015, at approximately 15:00 hours, six village heads in Hurungwe West were brutally assaulted at Nyamhunga Primary School,” Mliswa said.
“The six are headmen Mutinha (provincial co-ordinating member), Kapambara (district chair — Mashuma), Aleck Mangisi, Kakwenya, Dzuda and Mahobo. They were beaten at a Zanu PF meeting chaired by Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo and also present at the meeting was Zanu PF central committee member Phillip Chiyangwa and (former Mashonaland West governor) Peter Chanetsa.”
He added: “The six village heads were accused of supporting me and subsequently beaten. The assault was perpetrated in full view of the nine ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) officers in a Land Rover and members of the President’s Office present.”
Mliswa said two of the village heads went missing after the assault amid fears they could have been abducted. The two are reportedly Mangisi and Kapambara.
“It is unthinkable that at a time when the whole country is outraged by the acts of xenophobia being perpetrated in South Africa that as fellow Zimbabweans we can be attacking each other in such a manner,” the former MP charged.
Mliswa said Zimbabwe should not participate in peacekeeping missions because of human rights violations at home.
But Chombo said: “I was protected by 15 police officers and was driving myself. Nobody attacked me or any other person. He (Mliswa) must get serious. He must report to the police, not the media.
Chiyangwa scoffed at the allegations and accused Mliswa of operating a militia that was allegedly terrorising villagers in the constituency.
“Mliswa does not own Hurungwe West. Zanu PF is campaigning and he (Mliswa) is campaigning too,” he said. “What you need to establish is whether he was present at the meeting. This is hearsay. Mliswa should disband his militia which is terrorising people. Those are the people who come to our meetings. Mliswa was not there and we cannot perpetuate hearsay.”
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she had not yet received the assault report by yesterday afternoon.
Mliswa told journalists in the capital that he would soon petition President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to intervene and restore order in the area.
Mliswa claimed that he had since written to the Officer Commanding Mashonaland West Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Rangarirai Mushaurwa raising the same complaints.
The letter was copied to the two Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF youths camped at Mliswa’s farm were reportedly harassing his workers and demanding food from them.