By Gandri Maramba
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and their arch-rivals the ruling Zanu PF party have traded accusations of fueling political violence against each other ahead of Saturday’s crucial parliamentary by-election in Gokwe-Kabuyuni constituency.
The accusations come in the wake of violent clashes on Tuesday at Chitekete Business Centre where the two parties were campaigning.
The by-election pits CCC’s Costain Muguti and Zanu PF’s Spencer Tshuma.
Gokwe-Kabuyuni constituency fell vacant following the death of Zanu PF legislator, Leonard Chikomba, in a road traffic accident in May this year.
CCC leadership in Gokwe alleged that at least five of their members were severely assaulted by suspected Zanu PF youths’ crack team, whom they claimed were bused from Mashonaland East province.
Josiah Makombe who is CCC interim chairperson for Midlands province confirmed the allegations to Centre News and said Zanu PF was panicking.
“Yes, its true our members, at least five of them were thoroughly beaten by rogue Zanu PF supporters who were bused from Mash East. They were chased at Chitekete while campaigning and some of them lost their party regalia that was destroyed during the fracas. The fact that they hired thugs from
Other provinces show that the people of Gowke Kabuyuni have rejected them, they no longer want that party and they are being punished for that,” said Makombe.
Zanu PF was quick to dismiss the accusations and counter accused CCC for busing thugs from Harare to intimidate and harass traditional
Chiefs for throwing their weight behind the ruling party.
Zanu PF Director of Information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi said his party was never involved in violence but received information that CCC youths from Harare were heading to attack Chief Nenyunga’s homestead prompting their party youth and the police to restrain them.
“Actually those violent youths wanted to assault Chief Nenyunga because he refused to support their party and instead opted for our party. So our peaceful youths blocked them from reaching the homestead and they claim they were assaulted. They are the ones who perpetrate violence and they rush to the press and play the victim’s card, they should stop that because they are the real perpetrators of violence,” said
Mugwadi alleged that the youths were accusing traditional leaders of supporting the ruling party.
CCC, however, accuses the ruling party of abusing traditional leaders who force-march their subjects to rallies, stop them from attending opposition rallies and threaten them with evictions.
Political violence has sporadically spread across the country ahead of next year’s harmonized elections.
On Tuesday, CCC spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere reported that scores of their party supporters were assaulted in Uzumba by rogue Zanu PF supporters who accused them of attending a party meeting addressed by their leader, Nelson Chamisa.
CCC further alleges that Chamisa’s motorcade was blocked on Wednesday in Wedza by rowdy Zanu pf youths who eventually abducted their youth leader Tonderai Bhuka.
In Gutu West, over 10 CCC youth from Ward 7 are reportedly staying in mountains after fleeing their homes following attacks by suspected Zanu PF youths who accuse them of carrying out voter registrations programmes.
Mugwadi went on to dismiss all allegations reiterating that CCC was sending youths in Uzumba, Wedza and other districts across the country to attack traditional leaders and their party youths were only ‘protecting’ traditional leaders.