RIOT police had to be called in after violence broke out between rival factions in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party before a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Bulawayo on Sunday, NewsDay can reveal.
Source: Violence rocks Zanu PF – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 7, 2017
BY SILAS NKALA
The violence outbreak followed instability in the party’s structures in the aftermath of a demonstration by a section of the youth league demanding the dissolution of the provincial executive.
Hordes of youths engaged in running battles battering each other with stones and knobkerries ahead of the meeting at Davies Hall, the party’s provincial headquarters. The youths accused Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister and women’s league deputy chairperson Eunice Sandi-Moyo of a litany of corrupt activities including abusing food relief supplies as well as “fomenting the crisis in the party in Bulawayo”.
Insiders claimed that, in the aftermath of last week’s disturbances, Sandi-Moyo and other people in a faction of the ruling party known as G40 organised a counter move.
“Suspecting another protest during the PCC meeting at Davies Hall, they hired thugs and hooligans to manhandle anyone perceived to be anti-Sandi-Moyo,” NewsDay heard.
But Sandi-Moyo yesterday dismissed the claims that she organised thugs, accusing the Zanu PF youths of “lacking respect and roping me into child’s play”.
“Those are your (NewsDay) boys, they are not Zanu PF, you guys organise them and go on to publish wrong things about me. Why do they report to you if they are Zanu PF?” Sandi-Moyo fumed.
“Some of the youths who demonstrated and are making noise are not even in the structures. Why do they want to involve me in child’s play? They say I organised thugs, but if you look at me, do I look like I can do such? I am not a child, these young people lack respect and they must stop involving me in their misbehaviour. ”
However, a youth retorted: “Magura Charumbira was assaulted by stones and logs while Davis Muhambi had been earlier on manhandled by the same intoxicated hooligans, who had been funded $50 each.”
He claimed some of the activists had been brought from as far as Umguza and other places to counter the youth demonstration against the youth executive and Sandi-Moyo.
Zanu PF is split between two rival factions fighting for control of the former liberation movement and to succeed Mugabe. The G40 faction, reportedly fronted by national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, is pushing for First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over from her ailing husband, while, on the other hand, the Lacoste faction, with tacit support from section of the country’s security services and war veterans, wants Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over.
During the demonstration last week, the youths demanded that acting chairperson Anna Mokgohloa, Leo Nyoni (administration), Boniface Mutsure (commissar), Maqhawe Sibanda (transport) and Dean Hlomai (production and labour) be relieved of their duties.
When NewsDay arrived at the scene on Sunday, the skirmishes had died down, but dozens of youths milled around menacingly as a meeting went on behind closed doors.