RIOT police yesterday teargassed MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa at a private residence in Masvingo while suspected Zanu PF youths attacked his convoy three times and injured several aides and his security team.
Chamisa was allegedly addressing a private meeting at the residence when the police pounced, and was on his way to a community interface meeting at Charumbira communal lands in Masvingo when the suspected Zanu PF youths attacked his convoy.
Party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the rowdy Zanu PF youths were bussed in, adding that they barricaded roads with burning logs.
“Over 200 youths mobilised by Zanu PF violently attacked President Chamisa’s convoy and advance team on their way to meet community leaders in Charumbira, Masvingo province. They stoned cars, barricaded roads with burning logs and assaulted members of our team who have now been hospitalised,” Mahere told NewsDay.
“President Chamisa is currently embarking on a community citizens’ conversation interface in various provinces in line with our Agenda 2021. The tour will see him engage citizens, civic leaders, and special interest groups as we strengthen the broad alliance to win Zimbabwe for change.”
Mahere said the attack on Chamisa was a sign that Zanu PF was bent on instilling fear in its opponents ahead of the 2023 elections.
“This political violence is cause for extreme concern and a clear act of desperation by a bankrupt, illegitimate regime that has failed. They are terrified of the unstoppable groundswell of citizen support for president Chamisa and the broad alliance forming in every village and every town to win Zimbabwe for change,” she said.
The MDC Alliance said it was not yet ready to release the names of those who had been attacked as their next of kin were yet to be informed, as well as for their safety.
Before Chamisa’s advance convoy was attacked, riot police stormed and disrupted a meeting which the MDC Alliance leader was addressing at the residence of an MDC Alliance member.
They allegedly threw teargas canisters at the residence of Masvingo provincial member Wilstuff Sitemere in Target Kopje.
“No explanation was given as to why the police would disrupt a private meeting that in no way offends COVID-19 regulations or any law,” the MDC Alliance later tweeted.
MDC Alliance Masvingo provincial spokesperson Dereck Charamba said after the attack on Sitemere’s house, the riot police teamed up with the rowdy Zanu PF youths.
“The second attack occurred as we were on our way to Charumbira area to pay condolences to one of our party members. It happened around 11am just after Gwengavi School. We were ambushed by Zanu PF youths who barricaded roads, while riot police followed behind, but turned a blind eye on the violent Zanu PF youths. Instead, they attacked us,” he said.
“The third ambush occurred just after Nemamwa Growth Point while we were on our way to Masvingo West constituency. The fourth attack occurred just after Great Zimbabwe Hotel near the Great Zimbabwe monuments. Four cars belonging to the president’s motorcade were stoned, while the police also smashed windscreens of some cars.”
Charamba said they were yet to ascertain the total number of people injured and the degree of their injuries.
“I am currently in hiding somewhere, and so I have not yet ascertained the degree of injuries incurred,” he said.
Chamisa told NewsDay that the violence was clearly the work of hired Zanu PF youths.
“That is the work of Zanu PF. So, am I now not allowed to travel to any part of the country?” Chamisa said.
In the afternoon, NewsDay saw a number of riot police officers moving around Masvingo town, while others were doing rounds in police vehicles.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was yet to receive the report on the violence in Masvingo.
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha could neither deny nor confirm that his party youths were responsible for the violence.
“I am hearing this information for the first time. Let me engage our security department so that I can be apprised accordingly. I should be able to comment once this information comes to hand,” he said.
The MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora held its meetings in Masvingo over the weekend without any interruption.
A recent Zimbabwe Peace Project report adjudged Zanu PF as the number one perpetrator of politically-motivated violence, the police coming in second.
– NewsDay Zimbabwe