SUSPECTED Zanu PF youths yesterday stormed a Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) rally in Harare’s Glenview suburb where they pelted hundreds of Joice Mujuru’s supporters with stones.
A number of ZimPF supporters were injured while several vehicles were damaged.
The rally later proceeded under heavy police guard, close to 30 minutes after the skirmishes.
The injured were reportedly taken to different hospitals, while a formal police report was made in Glenview.
Reports last night said police were rounding up the suspected Zanu PF youths who arrived at the venue in several commuter omnibuses and threw stones behind a pitched tent, forcing ZPF supporters to flee.
In the process several more were injured as people stampeded to leave the area under a hail of stones.
Anti-riot police officers, who were a distance away, reacted swiftly and blocked the main road near the venue, closely monitoring commuter omnibuses to identify those which ferried the culprits.
A few metres away from the venue, apostolic faith members continued with their church service during the melee and seemed not to care about the violence, numerous police vehicles and a number of police details who were manning the area after the attack.
Former Zanu PF Harare provincial youth leader Jim Kunaka accused the ruling party provincial executive of coordinating the attack.
He warned the violent youths not to repeat yesterday’s attack on ZimPF or any political party because they would be repulsed.
“They have done what they did. They came to attack us here unprovoked and I want to warn them that let this be the first and last time to do such a thing,” Kunaka said.
“We are not going to be deterred by such violent behaviour. We are a registered political party and we followed all the procedures to be here today.
“These youths should know that they are being used today but their positions in Zanu PF are not guaranteed.
“They should focus on something better and respect other people. We are aware that they fear our mobilisation but they should seek God and stop such violent behaviour.”
By yesterday evening, police in Glenview signed request for medical report forms for the victims, including Karikayi Mucheke (45).
“This was a planned act of violence led by Zanu PF provincial youth leaders who wanted to disperse our gathering.
“We have reported the matter to police but to our surprise, there were some police details that were around when all this happened and let the youths get away with it,” Chimatira said.
Harare provincial youth chair Edson Takataka — who was accused of coordinating the violence — however, professed ignorance, saying he was on his way from attending a funeral in Murehwa.
Speaker after speaker at the rally deplored the violence, accusing Zanu PF of intimidating opposition parties.
Harare provincial leader Munyaradzi Banda said President Robert Mugabe was clueless on how to deal with the country’s challenges
“As ZimPF, we don’t want noise, insults or any form of violence but it, however, doesn’t mean we cannot defend ourselves,” Banda said.
Emmanuel Chiroto, Farai Kuveya and Setfree Mafukidze, among other prominent ZimPF members, attended the rally.
Meanwhile, ZPF yesterday proved that it is a force to reckon with in Mashonaland East Province after scores of people attended the first public meeting held at The Farmers Hall in Marondera.
The meeting being the first ever to be held in the province since the launch of the party recently, was attended by war veterans and both former Zanu PF and MDC-T stalwarts who travelled from areas as far away as Mudzi and Mutoko.
Former Zanu PF stalwart Taurayi Pasirai, who is now one of the interim provincial co-ordinators, said the party had penetrated the province and was embarking on a series of constituency visits.
“Mujuru is there, she is fit and strong, she is our brand. You should not be afraid to come out in the open. We are against double-crossing; if you divorce a wife, do not touch her property. We need a cleansing ceremony, and indeed there is need for change of identity,” Pasirayi said.
War veteran Wilfred Marimo said it was now time for the people to settle their differences and fight a common enemy.
Also present at the meeting was former Zanu PF member and lawyer Petronella Musarurwa, Charity Chakanyuka, former MDC-T stalwart Carlos Mudzongo and former Zanu PF national youth league political commissar John Mushayi, among others. – The Standard