BY NUNURAI JENA/BLESSED MHLANGA/MOSES MATENGA/KENNETH NYANGANI
OPPOSITION MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday claimed that he was attacked by ruling Zanu PF party activists at Zvipani, Mashonaland West when he visited the province yesterday.
Chamisa said he was mostly welcomed in parts of Hurungwe, including St Boneface, Elephant Walk, Karoi, Nhari and Birimahwe, but violence erupted at Zvipani when suspected Zanu PF youths unsuccessfully tried to block roads leading to the venue of the meeting at the business centre.
Chamisa claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s silence on the attacks showed that he had sanctioned them.
“I was deeply humbled by the welcome I received from villagers despite the fact that they will face unspecified treatment after my visit from Zanu PF members who have been trying to stop me from visiting rural areas in the country,” Chamisa said.
“It is sad that Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa is quiet about the violence being unleashed on our members and it clearly shows that he is a violent leader,” Chamisa said.
But Mnangagwa yesterday accused Chamisa of throwing tantrums to attract international attention.
Addressing the politburo ahead of the Zanu PF national conference which kicked off on Tuesday, Mnangagwa said the opposition leader should be ignored.
“We should ignore the emotional grandstanding by certain elements of our society,” Mnangagwa said.
“We should give them deaf ears as they try to attract international attention against their own country, shame on them.”
Although he did not name Chamisa, Mnangagwa’s statement comes after Chamisa was allegedly attacked by Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo and Mutare in the past two weeks.
The opposition leader also claimed that Zanu PF and government were behind an alleged assassination attempt in Mutare last week.
Mnangagwa, who is seeking to secure a second term in the 2023 general elections, urged his party to be focused.
“As we approach the 2023 harmonised elections, our strategies must be precise, succinct and comprehensive. Let us consolidate and maintain the indisputable victory of 2018 elections and win back all the constituencies previously lost, especially those in towns and cities,” Mnangagwa said.
However, Zanu PF central committee member Moses Gutu admitted to blocking Chamisa from entering Nyanga district last week, claiming the opposition leader was responsible for lobbying for sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and the European Union.
Zanu PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa also claimed the attacks on Chamisa’s convoy in Masvingo were as a result of provocation.