There was drama at Chinhoyi Stadium during the Defence Forces Day celebrations when security and protocol members were reportedly forced to remove top Zanu PF provincial members who had invaded the high table reserved for senior government officials.
BY JAMES MUONWA/NUNURAI JENA
This apparent show of friction within the ruling party manifested with Chegutu West MP, Dexter Nduna snubbing the top table and preferring to seat among ordinary people, only to be asked to join the high table by Mashonaland Provincial Affairs West minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka.
Asked by NewsDay why he was not at the top table as is tradition, Nduna was evasive, insinuating he did not want to be associated with Mliswa-Chikoka, because of her brother Temba, who he is always at war with.
Zvimba Senator Joseph Chirongoma and Zanu PF central committee member Phineas Makumbe were embarrassingly ordered to leave the top table, which included Local Government deputy minister Jennifer Mhlanga.
Nduna, who was seated in a tent, was then ushered to the top table.
But Makumbe and Chirongoma gave a fight, arguing they were entitled to the preferential treatment since they also had close links to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Police were seen persuading a visibly-agitated Makumbe, who was refusing to leave the front seat. He later sheepishly left the tent and resigned to a nearby tent. Chirongoma, realising that security and protocol officer were determined, also followed suit.
Following a coup that toppled former strongman President Robert Mugabe, the security and protocol team led by equally controversial provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo has been trying hard to make the Heroes’ Day celebrations in the province apolitical.