BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZANU PF continues to issue contradicting statements on the violence meted by its alleged supporters to opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa has claimed that ruling party members have been attempting to disrupt his “meet the people” tours in rural areas for the past three weeks.
On Thursday, Zanu PF supporters protested against Chamisa in Glendale, along the Harare-Bindura Highway, threatening to block the opposition leader’s convoy, accusing him of inviting sanctions on the country.
Zanu PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa accused Chamisa of provoking party members when the violence started in Masvingo three weeks ago. This was despite that some party members were accusing Chamisa of stage-managing the attacks in order to smear President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name at a time UN special rappoterur, Alena Douhan, was on a sanctions fact-finding mission in the country.
But yesterday, Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha said the ruling party had no policy of beating up opposition supporters.
Human rights groups have documented acts of violence committed by Zanu PF members against the opposition, but Bimha said the latter should approach the party to help identify the alleged culprits and report them to the police for prosecution.
“If they are being harassed, beaten or threatened, they should report such cases to the police. The police is there to investigate if they receive those reports. But if they bring the reports to us as a party, we will of course report to the police to investigate,” Bimha said in a telephone interview.
“They have not come to me, or my security department to report such cases. As a party, we have no policy of beating up people. It is not our policy; why should we beat up people? We are an organised organisation.”
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos said acts of violence by Zanu PF supporters betrayed Mnangagwa’s promise to depart from the late Robert Mugabe’s politics of violence.
“There is also the conflation of Zanu PF and State apparatus where (Zanu PF) people can torture (MDC Officials) officials with impunity. It’s a very dangerous precedent, a very serious culture which bastardises the very idea of Zanu PF that wanted to preach the politics of a new dispensation and no-violence,” Ostallos said.
Mnangagwa on Thursday admitted that intra-party violence was also tearing the party apart during his address to the Zanu PF central committee. The party’s restructuring exercise has been marred by violence, resulting in provincial elections being called off.
“Violence, political chicanery and divisive elements have no place in our colossal party structures. Under the Second Republic, we will scale up programmes that enhance dialogue, social cohesion and national unity,” Mnangagwa said in his address.
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