By James Muonwa I Mashonaland West Correspondent
SEVERAL Zanu PF activists were injured following violent skirmishes that erupted Monday in Chegutu West constituency, where the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) is allegedly funding thugs to intimidate and assault supporters of his main opponent ahead of internal elections.
A Honda Fit vehicle valued at around US$7,000 is reportedly up for grabs for anyone who kills and surrenders arch rival, Last Farai Chigavazira’s head, sources told NewZimbabwe.com.
Nduna has denied the allegations.
Contacted for comment, Nduna said; “Who is this guy you are talking about?
“Candidates eligible to contest primaries have not yet been confirmed, so how can l do that?”
“Besides, l am the sitting MP and am allowed to put up posters, even of the president,” said Nduna before asking this journalist to call later as he was driving.
The legislator, who has a military background with the Airforce of Zimbabwe, is said to have assembled a ruthless militia to enforce his hegemony in town and block his challenger from campaigning in the constituency.
Nduna’s incumbency is contested after Gift Konjana of MDC Alliance claimed irregularities in counting and announcement of election results in 2018. However, the courts upheld his victory.
In the ongoing Zanu PF primaries, youthful lawyer-cum-businessman Chigavazira has the backing of Mubaiwa Chikazhe and Brian Chinyama, who pulled out of the race.
The new challenger to Nduna’s throne has not had it easy as his ambitions to takeover have been met with stiff resistance, with the sitting lawmaker’s armed youth gangs, including persons on the police wanted list and ex-convicts, launching sporadic attacks on opponents.
During the most recent attacks at Maridad Primary School and Branswick Farm, several people including a village headman, were left nursing varying degrees of injuries.
When NewZimbabwe.com visited Chegutu following reports of violence Monday, the situation was tense as Zanu PF youths from both sides milled around the party district offices located in the central business district.
Our news crew witnessed youths said to be aligned to Nduna conducting an illegal roadblock along the main road leading to the high-density residential areas, carrying out a stop-and-search exercise.
Chigavazira’s posters were either defaced or had President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2018 election posters pasted on top of them.
In light of the uneven political playing field, Chigavazira has written to the party’s National Elections Directorate (NED) to stop the intimidation and wave of violence that has gripped Chegutu West constituency.
In the letter dated March 21 seen by NewZimbabwe.com Chigavazira claims a bounty was offered for his head and also narrates violent incidents allegedly perpetrated at the instigation of Nduna.
“On 15 March 2023 around 11:00am Hon Nduna convened a meeting at the Chegutu Zanu PF offices where he invited District Chairpersons and other party members.
“In that meeting he openly paid militia thugs led by a known criminal Misheck Chimombe Zindi US$300 to cause harm against my campaign team and myself.
“On top of that, he promised these thugs a Honda Fit to the person that manages to kill Cde Chigavazira and his campaign manager. He also asked the thugs to destroy my campaign material and disrupt my meetings; the thugs have been vigorously pursuing,” reads part of the letter.
“Consequently, I am being followed by two vehicles full of dangerous thugs on a daily basis. I feel my life is in danger as a result of his actions which defeats the Zanu PF elections code of conduct and the calls made by the President to have a peaceful primary election.”
Chigavazira said on Monday afternoon at Maridad in Ward 24 in Chegutu West
Constituency, Nduna sent 20 militia armed with guns, machetes, knives and pepper sprays to disrupt his campaign rally.
“They started beating my team and injured five people. His militia then went to Branswick farm where I had held a successful campaign rally which was attended by about 300 people.
“They went to the homestead of the Political Commissar (PC) who happens to be the Village Headman; the PC and his family which included two minor children aged 6 and 7 years, were attacked for organising the rally that we had held earlier in the morning.
“The thugs threatened people not to vote for me and if they voted for me they would be killed or beaten.”
When further comment was sought, the combative MP said curtly, “write what the others have already written” before hanging up.
Nduna is no stranger to shenanigans during electioneering season. In one previous election he opened gun fire in Ward 10 after losing polls.
“Nduna believes in using violence, but truth is he is a perennial loser in Zanu PF primaries and cannot win in a general election,” said Chigavazira.