ZANU PF intraparty violence resurfaced in Harare’s populous Mbare suburb yesterday, where three supporters of the ruling party’s parliamentary candidate, Tendai Savanhu, were severely injured during clashes with their rivals from suspected losing candidate Emmanuel Mahachi’s camp.
The violent clashes allegedly occurred at Stoddart Hall, where party members gathered to pay their last respects for national hero John Chimbandi before the body was taken for burial at the National Heroes Acre.
Witnesses said Mahachi’s allies stormed the hall and caused mayhem, accusing Savanhu and his supporters of using dirty tactics to win the party primary polls held last month.
Sources told NewsDay the problem started when Zanu PF provincial chairlady, Ratidzo Mukarati, complained over the poor turnout at the hall, where she was told Mahachi had threatened to unleash his supporters to disrupt the event.
The violence allegedly broke out when Mahachi showed up at the hall and received a hero’s welcome from his backers, before provincial chairman Godwills Masimirembwa openly reprimanded him for fanning violence.
Masimirembwa was manhandled in the process, only to be rescued by a Zanu PF provincial deputy youth chair Samuel Chikukwa.
This, according to party sources, angered Mahachi’s supporters, who immediately charged toward Masimirembwa before turning to Savanhu’s followers and attacked them using various weapons.
“Mahachi’s so-called bodyguards started beating up youths and three were seriously injured. One of the bouncers, known as Yadda, had a steel rod and chain, which he used to beat up youths from the rival camp,” one of the Zanu PF sources said.
The three injured youths were taken to Harare Central Hospital, where one was feared to have had a fractured arm and had eight stiches on the back of his head.
The other had a broken leg.
Contacted for comment, Mahachi denied that his supporters were behind the violence.
“It has nothing to do with me, but Savanhu and the people of Mbare who do not like him. I heard there was some scuffle between the people and Savanhu’s backers who were blocking the people from boarding kombis to the National Heroes Acre,” he said.
His supporters claimed the clashes were between Savanhu and disgruntled Zanu PF supporters who were accusing him of rigging the primary elections.
Masimirembwa professed ignorance about the violence, but admitted that some unruly elements were at the hall to disrupt the proceedings.
He also admitted that he summoned and reprimanded Mahachi over his conduct.
“There were some unruly elements, but I don’t know if anyone was assaulted because I had gone to the National Heroes Acre,” Masimirembwa said.
“I talked to Mahachi to try to advise him to embrace each other for the good of the party because primary elections were concluded and Savanhu was confirmed as the winner.”
Police last night said they were yet to receive a report.