BY TAURAI MANGUDHLA/MIRIAM MANGWAYA/PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE ZANU PF has been described as a “criminal gang” after a ruling party member threatened opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and his family with death.
The police were evasive yesterday when contacted over whether investigations have been opened yet following the threat.
Zanu PF member Abton Mashayanyika, who is a Habbakuk Apostolic Faith Mission bishop in Mberengwa, Midlands province, recently made the threats against Chamisa while addressing a rally at Rampopo hills under Chief Mapiravana in Mberengwa North.
In the video which has gone viral on social media, Mashayanyika said: “When we said down with (the late former Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Prime Minister Abel) Muzorewa, we meant he should die, when we say down with a witch, we mean they should die. When we say down-down with Chamisa, we mean he should be killed. Do you all understand the meaning? Down with CCC [Citizens Coalition of Change], down with Chamisa and his children.”
The chant is an age-old rallying call from Zimbabwe’s 1970s war of liberation which largely called for the death of the then common enemy, the late Rhodesian leader Ian Smith.
After independence in 1980, the Zanu PF party adopted the chant against all those who opposed its rule.
Police yesterday were evasive when asked whether there have been any investigations into Mashayanyika’s utterances.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the matter was being investigated at local level, and referred questions to Masvingo provincial spokesperson Inspector Kudakwashe Dewa.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
Dewa, however, referred questions to Midlands provincial spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko, who said: “If he said the matter was being investigated at the local level, what more can I say? Further details will be released in due course.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa refused to comment on the matter, while party information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi did not respond to questions sent to him.
The opposition CCC said the police inaction against threats to the life of their party leader confirmed their fears over selective application of the law.
This came as CCC legislators Job Sikhala (Zengeza West) and Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) are fighting for their freedom at the courts following their incarceration on June 14 on charges of inciting violence.
CCC said it was not taking the threats against Chamisa lightly after he survived two assassination attempts during his meet-the-people tours last year when gunshots were reportedly fired at his convoy.
CCC acting spokesperson Gift Siziba said: “We do not take this lightly chiefly because there have been numerous attempts on the life of president Chamisa. It is to this end that we call for our able police service to move with speed and detain Mashayanyika and charge him and his accomplices with death threats and calling for violence.”
Lawyer Alec Muchadehama said Mashayanyika should be charged for inciting public violence.
“He has gone beyond the bounds of freedom of expression. The Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression, but this is not the kind of freedom the Constitution entails. What he is saying is completely unjustified,” Muchadehama said.
“But that he has not been arrested or the police not issuing a statement shows how the police in Zimbabwe selectively apply the law by only targeting people who are perceived to be anti-Zanu PF. To that extent, it gives weight to allegations that the police act in a partisan manner.”
Said Effie Ncube, a political analyst: “The threats by this fellow are sadly consistent with the long-standing position of Zanu PF in which it has sought to retain power by all foul means.
“If you look at its record of murders, abductions, enforced disappearances and corruption on a grand scale, it has surpassed all regimes since colonial rule. Nothing like it has ever been seen. It has crossed all the lines in terms of being repugnant and brazenly criminal.”
Renowned United States-born applied economics professor and currency reformer Steve Hanke said the ruling party was synonymous with a criminal organisation.
He made the remarks in an interview on CNBC Africa about Zimbabwe’s current economic woes and possible solutions on Wednesday.
“Now we have a new President (Emmerson Mnangagwa), but, in fact, the same kind of regime, we have a Minister of Finance (Mthuli Ncube) who has been there since 2018 and it’s the same old story. We have got the governor of the Reserve Bank (of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya), who’s been there since 2014. That’s the same old story and we have got Zanu PF, a political party in power, but you have to remember Zanu PF has more in common with a criminal organisation than a political party, so that’s where we are at,” Hanke said.
“You have got criminals running the country. There are absolutely no preconditions to install a successful currency board, there have been over 70 of them. They have all been installed in the middle of the crisis in most cases.”
Political lecturer and analyst Eldred Masunungure said Hanke’s assertion was spot on.
“This is a party in government, deeply corrupt and has all sorts of predatory conduct, both in politics and the economic issues of the country; but it remains a political party. It’s an ugly animal, yes,” he said.