By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
GUN-TOTTING Zanu PF activists and MDC Alliance supporters engaged in violent clashes at Zvipani business centre in Hurungwe Wednesday after the former attempted to disrupt MDC Alliance president, Nelson Chamisa’s scheduled public address.
Five MDC Alliance members, including national Women’s Assembly official Mordester Majinjiwa, were injured in the ensuing violence.
MDC Alliance provincial spokesperson, Blessing Mandava told NewZimbabwe.com, Zanu PF supporters descended on unsuspecting MDC Alliance members and unleashed violence.
Mandava said: “A group of Zanu PF elements came to Zvipani and started beating up our members who were singing and merry-making while awaiting president Chamisa to deliver his address.”
“There was chaos as we fought running battles with the rogue Zanu PF members who sparked violence unprovoked to try and disrupt the people’s president from meeting with villagers who had turned out in large numbers.”
He added: “Five of our members were injured in the violent clashes, which left MDC Alliance national Women’s Assembly member Mordester Majinjiwa nursing a very deep cut on the head after she was attacked with a bottle.”
There was heightened deployment of state security agents along the Harare-Chirundu highway, where Chamisa motorcade encountered 15 roadblocks.
Suspected Zanu PF members also barricaded roads.
“MDC Alliance president Chamisa’s motorcade encountered many hurdles along the way. Besides being trailed by Central intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives everywhere we went, roads were blocked using rocks and logs, especially at Nhari,” said Mandava.
Prior to the Zvipani violence, business was brought to a stand-still in Karoi town centre as Chamisa’s motorcade snaked past amid deafening cheers for the youthful “People’s President”, who will be running for the state presidency in the 2023 harmonised elections.
Earlier Wednesday morning in Banket town, an attempt by Zanu PF members to block Chamisa’s motorcade failed dismally after both ruling party functionaries and the state security agents were left in the dark over Chamisa’s schedule and itinerary.
A 24-hour checkpoint manned by police, army and other security sector actors was mounted along Harare-Chirundu to monitor movements of people in and out of the area.
At Nyabira, Zanu PF hastily-arranged an anti-sanctions march to distract people’s attention from Chamisa’s tour, with vendors barred from selling their wares.
In Chinhoyi, police officers could be seen chasing away vendors, believed to be Chamisa sympathisers, who were only allowed to operate after 10am as news filtered the opposition leader’s entourage had already arrived in Karoi.
In Banket, sources say Zanu PF members clad in party regalia emblazoned with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s portraits, were in the afternoon ordered to dismiss after being offered fizzy drinks and slices of bread after loitering in vain intending to spoil Chamisa’s roadshow from as early as 5am.