Prosper Dembedza Herald Reporter
AN undisclosed number of Zanu-PF youths reportedly hired by Harare South legislator Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe ran amok yesterday morning, savagely attacking their political opponents in Southlea Park, tearing off their T-shirts with Dr Grace Mugabe’s face before destroying houses.
Scores of Zanu-PF supporters at Nyashadzamwari Housing Co-operative in Southlea Park were injured and over 20 policemen in anti-riot gear and from the Dog Section were at the scene maintaining order when The Herald arrived early morning.
The attacks, sources say, were linked to the ongoing factional fights in Zanu-PF that have also seen former Zanu-PF Harare youths chairman Cde Jimu Kunaka being implicated.
The attackers reportedly came in hired lorries and small pick-up trucks before unleashing terror in the area, assaulting hapless people mainly women.
When The Herald arrived at the scene, Police Officer Commanding Harare Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Clement Munoriarwa, who is also the chairperson of the Joint Operation Command (JOC), comprising senior officers from the security sector, was trying to calm down the restive group that was baying for Cde Mashayamombe’s blood.
They were calling for his dismissal from the party and recall from Parliament.
The thugs reportedly tore the party and national flags first and started assaulting everyone, shouting “(VP Joice) Mujuru is more superior than (Dr Grace) Mugabe”.
Said the official who cannot be named for fear of reprisals; “The rowdy youths were being led by Comrades Mashayamombe, Jim Kunaka, Anthony Gono, Ephraim Fundukwa and Rodrick Majoni. Cde Mashayamombe was boasting saying police would do nothing to him as he is superior to them.
“We no longer have trust in the police anymore because they are working with Cde Mashayamombe and they proved it today by arriving later after the incident and when the thugs were gone.”
Chairwoman for Herbert Chitepo B Co-operative Cde Lydia Nzombe, said Cde Mashayamombe was working with Cde Kunaka to fight all those people who supported President Mugabe and the First Lady in Southlea Park.
She said the land which they were occupying was given to women by the First Lady recently for the people to construct their homes.
“When they arrived they started throwing stones at us while some of them were destroying people’s houses. (Cde) Mashayamombe has shown that he has no people at heart at all because instead of uniting us he is busy dividing people and igniting violence,” she said.
Cde Nzombe said Cde Mashayamombe held a meeting with the thugs last night to come and assault everyone who supported the First Lady.
“During the attack the thugs were shouting that Mai Mujuru was more powerful than the First Lady,” said Cde Nzombe.
Addressing people at the scene Snr Assist Comm Clement Munoriarwa, urged Zanu-PF supporters to desist from all forms of political violence.
“As police, we are there to preserve peace and maintain order in the country and we are not owned by an individual. We take our instructions from the President (Mugabe). Report the names of all the culprits at Waterfalls Police Station so that we can do our investigations and arrest all the perpetrators because we don’t want violence in the country,” he said.
Snr Asst Comm Munoriarwa urged people to learn to solve their disputes amicably and avoid using force to fix problems.
In a telephone interview, Cde Mashayamombe distanced himself from the violence saying he was attending a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls.
“Those are lies because I am not in any way connected to those people who carried out that raid. Right now as we speak I am attending a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls which is being attended by members of parliament,” he said.
Cde Mashayamombe said the people who mentioned his name were fighting hard to bring his name into disrepute.
“I am not in Harare and I am not a ghost which can appear at two different places at the same time. Those people must leave me out of those forms of violence,” Cde Mashayamombe said.
He said people were coming to his constituency from as far as Highfield, Budiriro and Mbare to occupy stands illegally and in the process provoking violence.
“They should stop putting the First Lady’s name in their illegal land occupation because that land belongs to TSL,” he said.
Cde Mashayamombe said his enemies were aiming at destroying his image by dragging his name in violent activities and denigrating the First Family.
“We are in full support of the First Lady and no one can stop us from supporting her,” he said.
Cde Mashayamombe said he went to Victoria Falls early yesterday early morning.
This is not the first time that Cde Mashayamombe has courted controversy and recently he reportedly told Politburo member and nephew to the First Family Cde Patrick Zhuwao to find a political home for Dr Mugabe as she was not wanted in Harare.
He has since denied the allegations.
Cde Kunaka denied being part of the violence and accused Zanu-PF Harare provincial Youth League chairman Cde Godwin Gomwe of trying to tarnish his image.
“I have seen short people in my life who have brains but in the case of this little Gomwe it shows that his brain is so tiny like his body,” he said.
Cde Kunaka said Cde Gomwe was doing nothing to develop Harare province but was just concentrating on destroying it and dividing the people.
However, Cde Gomwe hit back, accusing Cde Kunaka of failing to develop Harare and assisting thousands of disempowered youths.
“He did nothing for the youths during his tenure. I have at least managed to secure housing stands for over 200 youths in Southlea Park and he was good at prostitutes and extorting commuter bus drivers and operators. I am warning him for the last time to leave the First Family alone,” Cde Gomwe said.