BY BLESSED MHLANGA/PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE
ONE person reportedly died yesterday while scores of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters were injured following an attack by suspected Zanu PF supporters during party leader Nelson Chamisa’s address at a campaign rally at Mbizo 4 Shopping Centre in Kwekwe.
The attackers charged into the crowd while Chamisa was addressing party supporters, resulting in a stampede.
Police confirmed the death of one person, saying they had arrested 16 suspects.
“We confirm the arrest of 16 suspects and the death of one person in connection with the violence that occurred in Kwekwe this afternoon. ZRP is now conducting investigations and more details will be released tomorrow,” Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told NewsDay last night.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said at least 17 people were hospitalised as a result of the attack.
“At least 17 people have been hospitalised while one person sadly lost his life following an orgy of violence by Zanu PF thugs during president Chamisa’s address. They used spears, machetes and iron bars. We condemn the regime’s use of violence against our members,” Mahere tweeted yesterday.
Her deputy Gift Ostallos Siziba said the elderly man had succumbed to injuries at Kwekwe General Hospital.
Zanu PF party national spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa yesterday said his party could not be blamed for violence on CCC supporters in Gokwe and Kwekwe.
“You cannot always blame Zanu PF for other political parties’ clashes. The issue was between the police and the respective party. We as Zanu PF were only focused on our rallies and they were peaceful. What happens elsewhere with other parties and the police – we would not know.”
Riot police was deployed with water cannons which were brought all the way from Harare.
In his speech, Chamisa accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being the architect of the violence against his supporters.
“In a new Zimbabwe where we are going, there will be no room for violence, but when you see this kind of violence you know it comes from the leadership, it reflects the type of leaders we have as a country. The fish rots from the head,” Chamisa said.
He told his supporters that the police belonged to the people, adding that they should not worry about their presence.
“Allow the police to do their work, they are ours, they must arrest those causing violence, and they must deliver peace to the people.”
He said Mnangagwa did not have anointing to lead the country.
“Tsvangirai (MDC-T founding leader Morgan) left the party for us. I am proud of this party. God is my witness. Out of all the leaders in this country, I was given the blessing by Tsvangirai to lead the people. Mugabe (the late former President Robert Mugabe) also left me his blessings to lead. Meanwhile, my brother Mnangagwa stole the Presidency from Mugabe who died a bitter man. But his heart was clear on who should lead the country.
“That is why the country has rejected to be led by Mnangagwa. Everything he touches turns to dust because he does not have the anointing that I have. I thank God.”
Chamisa then took aim at the recently announced government deal to rescue steelmaker ZiscoSteel.
“They looted ZiscoSteel dry, after doing that they have now parcelled the national asset to their friends in a corrupt deal. They entered a deal with themselves and now they are pretending that they want to open the iron and steel company, all this is false. Let me tell you that the only leadership which can open ZiscoSteel is that led by myself,” Chamisa said.
On Saturday, Mnangagwa accused white people for sabotaging ZiscoSteel.
“We gave the tender to Kuvimba which is 65% owned by government to reopen ZiscoSteel which was sabotaged by ex-Rhodesians who wanted to ensure that we don’t succeed as a nation. We need US$460 million to reopen the mining company and we have that money,” Mnangagwa said.
But Chamisa described the deal as bogus.
“They have given national assets and mines to their cronies and friends. They are looting the country dry. When we get into power, we will ensure that we take stock of all the deals, and if they were awarded corruptly we will take them back,” Chamisa said.
CCC interim vice-president Tendai Biti said once in power, the CCC party would transform the economy, create jobs and make Zimbabwe “great” again.