By James Muonwa
MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa’s ill-fated visit to Masvingo province this week has heightened fears the watershed 2023 harmonised elections could be bloody as Zanu PF goes for the broke to maintain its grip on power.
This week, Chamisa’s speeding convoy was reportedly trailed by a Nissan Caravan registration number AFG9047 and three unidentified Nissan NP200 trucks from Triangle to Chiredzi.
The drama continued at a lodge as alleged Zanu PF supporters, purportedly sent by Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira threatened to harm Chamisa, who was holed up inside Marmak Lodge under siege from the ‘anti-sanctions’ protesters.
In a video that has gone viral on social media, MDC Alliance Masvingo youth secretary for defence Admire Mufamba is seen mounting a bulwark against the suspected Zanu PF marauders who wanted to face Chamisa at the lodge.
All this unfolded as Zimbabwe Republic Police officers watched, but curiously went on to arrest Mufamba.
Earlier Monday, the opposition leader’s motorcade was attacked in the Charumbira area in the volatile Masvingo province, which ironically is Chamisa’s rural home.
MDC Alliance national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere told NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday, the opposition movement deplores violence by Zanu PF.
Mahere said: “We condemn the harassment, intimidation, and abuse of President Nelson Chamisa and our provincial members in Masvingo. The attacks have been coordinated and saw the delegation being followed, blockaded, and abused as they travelled throughout the province to meet community leaders.
“Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF acting political commissar) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which confirms what we have repeatedly said: ‘Zanu PF is a violent, illegitimate, corrupt party that has run out of ideas to take the nation forward’.”
Mahere said Zanu PF was terrified of the opposition party’s “unstoppable groundswell of citizen support and the broad alliance forming in every village and every town to win Zimbabwe for change.”
Chamisa is currently embarking on a whirlwind tour of communities where he is engaging in citizens’ conversation interfaces in line with MDC Alliance’s Agenda 2021.
Added Mahere: “Following President Chamisa’s arrival in the province, the area has turned into a warzone. Hundreds of Zanu PF thugs stoned cars; barricaded roads with burning logs and assaulted five members of our team who were badly injured, hospitalised, and later discharged.
“When approached by our members, drunken youths said that they had been sent by Ezra Chadzamira, Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister. They held printed placards with Zanu PF slogans, hate speech against Chamisa as well as ‘anti-sanctions’ messages.”
The MDC Alliance spokesperson further alleged vehicles were seen ferrying the rented crowds which went on well-coordinated attacks.
“The police watched and took no action even though they had earlier disrupted and shut down a private meeting of less than 20 people at the home of one of our provincial members.
“We condemn this selective application of the law. This morning (yesterday), Masvingo turned into a Warzone with excessive, military-controlled roadblocks, including in Chivi, Mwenezi and Urazvi manned by riot police and soldiers sprouting up on village access roads.”
Opposition members were subjected to illegal searches as riot police officers indicated that they were searching for “weapons”.
Two trucks with anti-riot police officers descended on Urazvi as Chamisa arrived in the area, Mahere said.
She said members of her party have been threatened with violence and death, and further warned against attending meetings convened by the MDC Alliance.
“State agents are conducting unlawful surveillance and tracking of our members. This political violence is unconstitutional as it violates our political rights enshrined in Section 67 and cause for extreme concern.
“It is a clear act of desperation by a bankrupt, illegitimate regime that has failed to govern and now resorts to force and coercion against citizens,” said Mahere.
The latest events unfolding around Chamisa in Masvingo province sent Twitter into overdrive, with social media user castigating actions by the suspected Zanu PF “hoodlums”.
Vocal Norton independent MP Temba Mliswa posted: “Uku ndiko kupererwa chaiko (This is wits end). It’s rather sad. Honestly, how can you block a person like this? You are actually giving him prominence for that matter. Why abuse women like this?
“It’s looking like we are in for a bloody election then. This is very pathetic.”