News / National
Mugabe's minister runs for dear life
15 Mar 2017 at 05:39hrs | Views
RAGING internal turmoil gnawing at President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF this week turned ugly in Manicaland after Information and Communication Technology deputy minister Win Mlambo ran for dear life after party youths charged at him for allegedly intruding in their area.
Mlambo was supposed to address a rally at Checheche growth point in Chipinge South constituency when marauding Zanu-PF youths stormed the venue, accusing him of fomenting divisions. Mlambo is Zanu-PF Chipinge East legislator.
Zanu-PF supporters loyal to Mlambo had to scurry for cover in different directions while huge pots of meat from a slaughtered beast meant for people at the rally were thrown in mud.
Two vehicles, one carrying items reportedly donated by Mugabe to accident victims and the other transporting party supporters, were damaged in the ensuing melee.
According to sources, the youths were irked by Mlambo's attitude of allegedly intruding into a different constituency without the consent of the local leadership.
The youths accused the deputy minister of trying to establish his own centre of power in the district.
Mlambo confirmed the brawl, but denied the rally was meant to de-campaign the sitting legislator Enock Porusingazi.
"Indeed that is what happened, but the reasons are false," he said in an interview with NewsDay yesterday.
"Those were marauding and drunken touts who were organised by some politicians in the area who feared that the rally was going to expose them as double-dipping between Zanu-PF and ZimPF. That is what they feared because this rally was for the purpose of accepting people back from ZimPF to Zanu-PF."
Asked what he was going to do to bring those responsible to book, Mlambo said for the sake of peace he was not going to name or shame any party members involved in the violence.
He said the rally had been rescheduled to Friday and more security would be deployed to deal with potential threats of violence.
Mlambo said besides the vehicles, the public address equipment was also vandalised.
However, the sources at the meeting maintained the deputy minister had called the rally to denounce his political foes within Zanu-PF claiming he wanted to set his own power base.
"At this stage, the minister might say everything to justify his behaviour, but the truth of the matter is that he came and organised a meeting without the blessings of the local leadership. Even the provincial members were not aware of his meeting," said an official, who requested anonymity fearing reprisals.
Another source added: "After hearing that he was coming to our area, youths organised themselves to stop him.
Indeed, they were justified to chase him and throw his food away because we cannot tolerate such behaviour especially as we head towards elections. The man feels he is very powerful and wants to be seen as the warlord in the district thinking no one can stop him. This taught him a lesson and he will never interfere again."
NewsDay also heard of a plan to accommodate members of the opposition Zanu Ndonga, but accusations that Mlambo was dividing party structures continued to ring out loud.
"He is sowing seeds of division. This is going to destroy us as a party and we can end up losing the seat to ZimPF. We only know about one MP in our area and that person is Porusingazi. We will not tolerate those who come with different agendas to sell the party to Zanu Ndonga," an insider said.
Mlambo denied the allegations saying that the event had been organised by an affiliate organisation known as Retrievers of Hope Youth Association and had invited him in his capacity as a Zanu-PF central committee member, not as an MP.
"A central committee member is a national figure who can be deployed in Hwange, Gwanda and Bulawayo, so if I can be deployed in Hwange, why can I not attend a rally in Chipinge South?" he said.
Some injured party members were taken to various clinics around Checheche where they were treated and discharged.
Source - newsday