SANYATI, in Mashonaland West province, reportedly turned into a war zone this week as rival aspiring Zanu PF candidates bludgeoned each other ahead of the party’s primary elections set for tomorrow.
The violence in Sanyati follows more terror attacks that rocked Chegutu West as rivals there also beat each other up in the run up to the weekend primaries.
A video of one of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lawyers, Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba, attacking supporters of Mines deputy minister Polite Kambamura also emerged.
Kambamura is the sitting Sanyati Member of Parliament (MP), who is being challenged by Magwaliba and Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena’s younger brother, Tatenda.
NewsDay is reliably informed that some Zanu PF supporters have reportedly abandoned their homes following the violence that flared up at Kasirisiri business centre on Tuesday.
Two of the aspiring MPs for the Sanyati seat accused each other of fomenting the violence when contacted for comment.
One of the victims, Beauty Jeremiah, who is the Zanu PF Kasirisiri district chairperson, accused Magwaliba of sponsoring the violence.
“Magwaliba’s supporters have been going around threatening to come during the night and abduct Kambamura’s supporters and some people are now afraid of staying at their homes,” Jeremiah alleged.
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According to Jeremiah, two teenage boys were stabbed for refusing to chant Magwaliba’s slogans at a rally the aspiring MP was addressing at Kasirisiri business centre on Tuesday.
“His (Magwaliba) supporters are threatening those who support Kambamura, unleashing violence, while boasting that he is Mnangagwa’s lawyer and that he will cause the release of his supporters who would have been arrested,” Jeremiah said.
Magwaliba denied fuelling the violence, claiming he was actually the victim.
He said four of his supporters were attacked by Kambamura’s loyalists.
“One was chopped by an axe, another shot by a catapult, while the other two were stoned. Kambamura’s supporters ambushed my supporters as we tried to attend to someone they had axed and caused mayhem,” Magwaliba said.
“I have not been retaliating. His supporters have been threatening my supporters. I preach peace at my rallies. Our innocent supporter was arrested and accused of assaulting Jeremiah. He has been released. All I can say is that Kambamura has been sponsoring violence.”
Kambamura was not answering his mobile phone, despite repeated efforts to contact him.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF has barred all aspiring candidates from speaking to the media during the primary elections.
Addressing a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting in Marondera, national political commissar Mike Bimha said: “As a party, this time, we are saying no candidate is allowed to speak to the media. We have only two people in the party who are allowed to comment, that is the party spokesperson (Christopher Mutsvangwa) and director for information (Tafadzwa Mugwadi).”
Also, Zanu PF secretary for transport and social welfare and Local Government minister July Moyo have ordered aspiring candidates to surrender constituency vehicles to the party or face disciplinary action.
“Following a resolution by the national elections directorate, you are hereby instructed to immediately withdraw and pool all Zanu PF party constituency vehicles allocated to your province in order to enhance administration of the forthcoming Zanu PF party primary elections,” Moyo said in a memo dated March 20.
“Additionally, all party officials, including provincial chairpersons, provincial secretaries for the commissariat and party employees, are prohibited from using official party vehicles during the forthcoming primary elections. Such vehicles must be surrendered to the provincial command centre under stewardship of the supervising politburo member for the duration of the party’s primary elections.”
The primary elections were initially scheduled for last week, but were called off at the last minute.