A GROUP of MDC supporters on Saturday assaulted Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi during a Chegutu ward 2 by-election, the Daily News can report.
According to Ziyambi, he went to a polling station to meet a Zanu PF polling agent, but rowdy MDC supporters confronted him and attempted to block his way before they hurled obscenities at the Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson.
“Pano hapana minister. Uri kuendakupi iwe? Ibvaapo (There is no minister here? Where are you going? Leave this place now),” the MDC supporters shouted at Ziyambi, charging towards him.
Ziyambi had to be whisked away to safety by his aides.
“I went to that certain polling station to meet our polling agent. When I arrived, I greeted the opposition supporters and kindly asked them to excuse us so that I could speak to our polling agent,” Ziyambi told the Daily News in an interview yesterday.
Ziyambi warned the opposition against political violence, adding that after the attack the MDC supporters went on social media to discredit him by claiming he had visit the polling station intending to speak to the presiding officer.
“They were blocking me from talking to our polling agent. After that they have gone on social media and started to spread a false narration that I was trying to speak to the presiding officer, which is totally hogwash.
“Their behaviour is not good; they have become a law unto themselves. I went to the polling station to see our polling agent in my role as Zanu PF chairman. Am I not allowed to see my polling agent? They are abusing social media, spreading false information. Democracy is not about attacking people, this violent behaviour must stop. I have since instructed those who were posting on social media to retract, failure to do that I will take legal action.”
Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangawana condemned the attack on Ziyambi.
“We hadn’t witnessed electoral violence in Zimbabwe in a while until yesterday in Chegutu when Hon Ziyambi, who is also Zanu PF Mash West chair, came face to face with aggression and aggravation from rowdy members of the opposition just for speaking to his party election agent. Why?,” Mangwana wrote on his Twitter account yesterday.
Contacted for comment, MDC secretary for elections Jacob Mafume said the supporters were questioning why Ziyambi came near the polling station without Zimbabwe Electoral Commission accreditation.
“He was not assaulted at all. There was a vigorous discussion on why he was in the polling station without accreditation. The rule states that Ziyambi should have been 300m away from the polling station without accreditation. So, he (Ziyambi) was leading the assault on the election process,” Mafume said.
Ironically, the MDC has been accusing Zanu PF of using State machinery to intimidate and beat people in previous elections.
This comes as the opposition is pushing for electoral reforms and they have written to the United Nations Electoral Needs Assessment Mission, which was recently in the country, to push the government to implement electoral reforms.
There has been accusations and counteraccusations of political violence between Zanu PF and the MDC since the formation of the opposition in 1999 and the leadership of trade unionist, the late Morgan Tsvangirai.