POLICE yesterday arrested 20 Zanu PF supporters in Manicaland province following intraparty violence.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested 20 suspects in Manicaland, and they are now appearing in court.”
Zanu PF provincial spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said the party would not tolerate an intra-party violence, adding that there was a manner and way in which grievances should be channelled.
The clashes started on Sunday at the party’s provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Mutare, after demonstrators, who were calling for the ouster of chairperson Mike Madiro, were teargassed by police.
The demonstrators were led by Mutare district co-ordinating committee (DCC) secretary for youth affairs Danmore Mambondiyani, who demanded that Madiro should address party members outside Marymount Teachers College.
Mambondiyani, who is vying for the provincial youth position, and is being challenged by Makoni DCC secretary for youth affairs, Stanley Sakupwanya, was manhandled and head-butted in the melee by supporters of a rival faction.
He was hospitalised at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital under police guard, but Zanu PF Mutare DCC chairperson Binali Yard said Mambondiyani was transferred to a private hospital.
Yesterday, Mambondiyani was among the 20 youths who appeared before Mutare magistrate Langton Mukwengi accused of participating in a gathering with the intent to promote public violence.
He was granted free bail from his hospital bed. The other youths were also granted free bail.
“I can now confirm that we have transferred Mambondiyani to a private hospital. He was granted bail on his hospital bed,” Yard said.
A Zanu PF party activist yesterday told NewsDay that Madiro should swallow his pride and address the disgruntled supporters who accuse him of fanning factionalism.
“Madiro is the one who provoked the situation. He was supposed to hear the concerns of the people. As a chairman, he is supposed to listen to the complaints of the people. If he runs away from those complaints, Zanu PF will fail to attain the much needed five million votes,” the activist said.
Another party member said Mnangagwa should step in to stop the intraparty violence in Manicaland province.
Madiro is being accused of imposing candidates in the just-ended district elections ahead of the provincial elections.
Yesterday, there were reports that Madiro’s vehicle was stoned along the road to Rusape soon after the Mutare meeting.
Sakupwanya told NewsDay that he was followed while on his way to Makoni on Sunday, and was assaulted by bouncers.
“They assaulted me before we sped off. They gave chase. Unfortunately, the tollgate was congested. They came behind my car and started smashing my car windows, but I sped off. That is how I survived,” he said.
“I hear that our chairman Madiro’s car windows were stoned at Shamhu along the Mutare-Harare Highway.”