Zanu PF has disowned a party official filmed telling a rally in Mberengwa that Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa, his supporters and their children should be murdered.
Zanu PF spokesman Christopher Mutsvangwa said comments made by Abton ‘Bhito’ Mashayanyika were “reckless statements.”
A defiant Mashayanyika has told reporters that he is “too Zanu PF to be arrested.”
“We don’t have evidence that he is a card-carrying party member. If he was a party member, he would not be issuing such reckless statements,” Mutsvangwa told ZimLive on Wednesday.
“We don’t associate with such madness, that is why the president at Oliver Chidawu’s funeral preached peace and said we don’t want violence in this country.
“We’re not law and order (sic), and will not usurp the powers of the police. I advise the aggrieved (Chamisa) to engage the police, lawyers and courts if they feel the matter is of a serious nature.”
CCC national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere slammed Mutsvangwa’s remarks as blatant lies intended to cover up Zanu PF’s orchestration of violence against the opposition.
She told ZimLive: “It’s a matter of regret that an official of Zanu PF can lie so blatantly. The Zanu PF meeting is captured on video for the world to see. They can clearly see they’ve been cornered and so are trying to deny evidence that’s on record. It’s shameful and consistent with a party that has no values and continuously resists accountability.
“We call for an urgent investigation by the police who have a constitutional obligation to arrest the suspect and ensure he’s prosecuted. The law must take its course. Mutsvangwa cannot be judge, jury and executioner in Zanu PF’s case where it is beyond doubt that they’re guilty.”
Addressing supporters at Rampopo hills in Mberengwa North, Mashayanyika took time to explain the Zanu PF party slogan ‘Pasi!’ The “down with” chant is a popular slogan in Zanu PF used to denounce the opposition.
“Kana ndichiti pasi naMuzorewa ndinoreva kuti ngaafe (When I say down with Muzorewa I mean he must die),” Mashayanyika said.
“When we say down with a witch, we mean the witch should be killed. When we say down with sellouts, we mean they should be killed and when we say down with Chamisa, we mean he should be killed.
“Have you understood that? So, when I say down with them, you must respond emphatically, knowingly fully well what I mean.
“Down with the CCC! Down with Chamisa!” Mashayanyika shouted as another person added “… together with his children.”
Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa this week wrote to the police, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority questioning why they were not taking action against Mashayanyika’s remarks.
She said Mashayanyika is a bishop in a church called Habbakuk Apostolic Faith Mission and is from the Dlehari area of Mberengwa under Village Head Kuraicha.
Mtetwa also directed her letter to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was not intimately aware of the matter, but believed Midlands police were investigating.
“I’m not aware of the matter, as far as we’re concerned the issue is being handled by the Midlands commanding officer,” said Nyathi.
Midlands police spokesman Emmanuel Mahoko said: “Gweru alone handles over 600 cases per month, so there will be a lot of cases that we will be dealing with in the Midlands province. It’s normal that when you enquire, we will not have the finer details pertaining to that particular case.
“I will need to consult and establish what’s on the ground and get back to you.”
ZEC spokesman Jasper Mangwana confirmed that the electoral body had received a copy of Mtetwa’s litigation and would respond in due course.
“A reading of the remedy that is being sought will show that the application seeks investigation of the allegations. ZEC has no mandate to investigate and will accordingly wait for those institutions with power to investigate to guide it on the way forward,” added Mangwana.
ZHRC spokesperson Eric Mukutiri said the institution was “investigating this matter in line with its mandate.”