President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rally was yesterday marred by violence after ruling party youths and soldiers tried to stop people from streaming out of the venue before the Zanu PF leader finished his address.
Soldiers and national service youths, known as “Green Bombers”, had a torrid time trying to control the restless crowd at Bindura’s Chipadze Stadium as scores of people started leaving when Mnangagwa was midway through his speech.
Some of the youths armed with logs tried to stop the people but were eventually overpowered.
Several people were reportedly injured in the melee as they fled the marauding youths and soldiers.
Videos of Border Gezi youths and armed soldiers trying in vain to chase down fleeing masses back to the venue as Mnangagwa addressed the crowd have since gone viral.
Several people were beaten up as they ran away from the rally.
On Friday, the Zanu PF leadership was left seething with anger after restless supporters walked out on Mnangagwa at a rally in Mapfungautsi Primary School in Gokwe South.
Zanu PF candidate for Gokwe-Mapfungautsi and politburo member, Victor Matemadanda, sought to blame truck drivers competing to beat passenger targets for the walkout on Mnangagwa.
“As the President was addressing the people, some truck drivers started to spread messages that they were leaving the rally,” the war veterans leader was quoted as having said in a state-owned daily yesterday.
“Some of these people were coming from faraway places like Chitekete and when they heard that transport was leaving they stood up.”
In his speech, Mnangagwa yesterday made a U-turn on white commercial farmers saying they would not get their farms back.
Mnangagwa said those who wanted their repossessed land must go back to their countries of origin.
“The new dispensation will not return land to the whites, no, no!,” he said amid thunderous applause from Zanu PF supporters.
“We have united people through this land. If you want you can get into a ship and go back to your country and parcel land there.”
Zimbabwe embarked on a chaotic land redistribution programme at the turn of the millennium following growing protests by disgruntled war veterans who claimed white farmers were funding the opposition.
Former president Robert Mugabe presided over the violent seizure of farms owned by white Zimbabweans.
After taking over from Mugabe following a coup in November last year, Mnangagwa had appeared open for the return of the displaced farmers after declaring that all Zimbabweans who needed land would get it.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa said Zanu PF was on course to record a massive electoral victory on July 30.
He promised to reward traditional leaders with more vehicles soon after the elections.
“When we ushered in the new dispensation we summoned all chiefs in Midlands and gave them cars while informing them of the new government,” he said.
“After 30 July when we are in power all the 289 chiefs will have brand new cars.”
He said Vice-President Kembo Mohadi and Zanu PF chairperson Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri were still recovering from the injuries they sustained after an explosion at Bulawayo’s White City Stadium during a Zanu PF rally.
– The Standard