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ED rally ‘cancelled’ over poor turnout

Local News

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday reportedly cancelled a planned address to Zanu PF supporters who had come to cheer him on at the official opening of the US$7,4 million Madokero Mall in Harare due to poor turnout.

Sources said the planned rally was called off at the last minute due to a poor turnout despite spirited mobilisation efforts by senior officials led by Zanu PF Harare provincial chair, Godwills Masimirembwa.

Masimirembwa arrived at the venue early and could be heard ordering party and affiliate structures to bus supporters to the venue.

"Where are you? Bring people here, we are almost starting,” Masimirembwa was overheard speaking on his mobile phone.

As is tradition, Zanu PF bussed supporters from around the capital including members of the apostolic sects and touts under Vapostori for ED and Mahwindi groups.

Other shadowy ED outfits were also present and waited for the ceremony from mid-morning, but the numbers were not convincing enough to allow the rally to go ahead, party insiders said.

Officials and staff from government had set up a podium just outside the reception tent while they waited for Mnangagwa's arrival at 14:30.

The podium, which faced the Zanu PF supporters separated from the VIP and reception tent by steel barricades, was later quickly dismantled and chairs removed just before Mnangagwa's arrival.

On arrival after the tour, Mnangagwa walked straight to meet and greet his supporters while waving a clenched fist. The supporters broke into song and dance, but there was no address from their leader.

The ruling party has been struggling to drum up support in the capital where the opposition enjoys dominance.

Repeated efforts to contact Masimirembwa and Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana for a comment were fruitless yesterday.

Meanwhile, there was chaos after the event as the Zanu PF supporters stampeded for refreshments.

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