ALMOST 10 Zimbabwe National Army personnel became the centre of negative light at the Harare Dancehall Cup Clash show held at the City Sports Centre on Saturday when they indiscriminately bashed revellers in and outside the venue.
TAURAI MANGUDHLA/WINSTONE ANTONIO
The overzealous soldiers used batons and logs.
While artistes could be celebrating their performances and promoter Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza is counting his gains, several defenceless dancehall fanatics could be nursing wounds from the brutal attack by the soldiers donning their camouflage uniform.
The soldiers were aided by some equally overzealous cops who were also setting dogs on the hapless show-goers. Several of the violent soldiers claimed to be working under the order of the promoter.
Some could be heard boasting “tiri pabasa” (we are at work).
The violent skirmishes even saw the soldiers at each other’s throats, with one seen in handcuffs in a torn uniform after being nabbed for misconduct.
This left many people running for cover as the soldiers in typical war style, would ambush and attack defenceless people.
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Some of the victims sustained injuries and some could be seen lying on the ground bleeding.
Apart from the violent attacks by the soldiers, musician Seh Calaz’s bouncer also found himself deep in the mess as he was seen attacking a fan in the crowd.
The hefty dreadlocked bouncer jumped off stage before unleashing blows and several kicks on the young man while a police officer seemingly took his time to rescue the battered chap.
Violent skirmishes were also common throughout show with missiles literally raining onto the stage that some artistes had to flee before their sets ended.
The gig was marred by poor organisation as it took too long for one to secure a ticket at the entrance that was manned by soldiers who ended up charging a low fee for quick entrance into the venue.
Some artistes also boycotted the show with fans demonstrating Tocky Vibes’ failure to turn up by hurling cans onto the stage in protest.
Interestingly, the show this year showed the same traits as last year’s edition by the same organisers that was marred by several glitches.
Asked to comment on the misdemeanours, Chipaz said he had three officers from the army to control other soldiers who were expected to come for his event.
“These soldiers were supposed to control other soldiers and stop them from causing problems in queues, sneaking people into the venue for free and so forth,” he said.
“For civilians, I had the police and my own private guards,” added Chipaz.
“I got reports of soldiers beating up people, but the problem is you cannot tell whether they are the ones I hired or the ones who were part of the crowd, but I apologise to the fans.”
A journalist was also not spared in the fiasco with a report having made at Harare Central Police Station under case number 089434.
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe Defence Forces director of public relations Colonel Overson Mugwisi said he was seeing a doctor and requested NewsDay to phone after an hour, while national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said they were yet to receive the reports about the incident and urged the victims to report the case.