Rogue Zanu PF youth yesterday turned on NewsDay senior reporter Richard Chidza, violently shoving and slapping him and demanding that he reveals the source of the story regarding an alleged fall-out within the youth league leadership ranks.
Led by youth league national political commissar Innocent Hamandishe, the agitated youths, at the end of a Press briefing, manhandled Chidza.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Youth league politburo secretary Kudzi Chipanga had, in his statement, made general comments about the reportage in the independent media.
“We have realised that the private media is working day and night to destabilise the youth league. They are not happy with the unity in the youth league. We would like to call upon the private media that hands off the youth league,” Chipanga had said.
“Our youth league is for President Mugabe and Amai Mugabe (First Lady Grace).”
But all hell broke loose as journalists trooped out of the auditorium when the youth league’s secretary for finance Tongai Kasukuwere identified Chidza as the writer of the story.
Tongai is younger brother to Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, a leading figure in the G40 faction.
“It’s him, that is Chidza who wrote the story,” Kasukuwere said.
Hamandishe then demanded that the doors be closed and Chidza be interrogated.
“Who told you that we fought in Russia? Tell us, or we will kick you,” Hamandishe demanded.
Other youths jumped into the fray, shoving, yelling, heckling and slapping the reporter before Chipanga intervened.
“No comrades, we must not do that, leave him. Let him go,” Chipanga said before Chidza was let go.
The story carried by NewsDay revealed Hamandishe and other G40 acolytes in the youth league had an altercation with Chipanga while attending an international youth meeting in Sochi Russia last week over the extra-ordinary congress resolution.
While Chipanga, according to sources, seemed to have insisted on following protocol, the G40 hangers-on wanted to railroad him into the resolution.
Chipanga was accused of supporting a faction aligned to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
To add to the intrigue, acting youth league secretary for administration Xavier Kazizi, in response to a request for a comment on the incident, apparently lied that Chipanga had stayed behind.
“You can ask Chipanga when he comes tomorrow (Thursday). He stayed behind along Hamandishe and other members of the national executive,” Kazizi said on Tuesday. But it emerged Chipanga had, in fact, arrived in Harare on the same plane as Kazizi.
Chipanga later phoned NewsDay to apologise for the behaviour of what he described as “rogue” elements within the youth league.
He said it was not the intention of the Zanu PF youth to physically harm journalists, as their work was protected by the constitution and promised that such behaviour would never happen again.