Zanu PF supporters celebrate murder suspect’s release
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home town of Kwekwe came to a standstill on Friday as scores of Zanu PF supporters thronged the city centre to celebrate the release from jail of suspected machete gang leader, Tapiwa Muto, the Daily News reports.
Muto, 36, who is Zanu PF youth league secretary for education for Midlands Province and suspected leader of the Al Shabaab terror gang, was arrested last week on inciting violence charges, murder and rape after he allegedly led machete wielding youths to assault party bigwigs and police officers conducting primary elections in the mining town.
The murder charge arises from an incident earlier this month when Muto and his accomplices Tafadzwa Rodgers, Wiseman Ngwenya, Raymond Chiriga, Petros and two others who are still at large, allegedly caused the death of Andrew Moyo.
The victim was allegedly assaulted with switches and hands and was rushed to Kwekwe General Hospital where he died. Following his release by a Kwekwe magistrate on $2 000 bail, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters marched from the city centre to the party provincial offices, singing and dancing in solidarity with Muto despite a current ban on protests and public gatherings due to Covid-19 regulations.
Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairperson, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, chastised the behaviour of the supporters, accusing them of putting the name of the party into disrepute.
“What our supporters did must be condemned in the strongest terms because we cannot be seen, as the ruling party, to be at the forefront of
violating Covid-19 rules. “We need to be disciplined and not tarnish the image of the party when we seemingly promote unruly behaviour. Those who condone violence will reap what they sow,” Mackenzie-Ncube told the Daily News yesterday.
In September, Zanu PF national political commissar Victor Matemadanda and retired army colonel Panganai Kahuni were among party leaders targeted by the youths, who caused the abandonment of a primary election to choose a Zanu PF candidate for Kwekwe Central following the death of National Patriotic Front MP Masango Matambanadzo in July.
The youths also damaged party vehicles, including one belonging to Mackenzie-Ncube’s deputy, Rabson Nyathi — who was one of the people presiding over the primary elections.
The election pitted Kandros Mugabe and Energy Ncube in the battle to replace Matambanadzo. The two aspiring candidates were said to be backed by senior party officials — with Matemadanda reportedly rallying behind Mugabe, while State Security minister Owen Ncube allegedly supported Ncube.
The violence broke out after presiding officers ordered the use of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission voters roll for the internal polls, instead of the party list — which had reportedly been manipulated.
The fiasco in Kwekwe took place as there are growing fears in Zanu PF that the demons of factionalism that gutted the ruling party during the last few years in power of the late former President Robert Mugabe have returned with vengeance.
The violence left the ruling party in a state of shock, with MackenzieNcube telling the Daily News in an interview recently that the former liberation party was keen to establish the youths’ motive. This culminated in the Zanu
PF Midlands provincial executive ordering a thorough probe into the nasty events, while also calling for severe punishment to be meted out on the perpetrators.
“It was scary and we are still terrified because we do not know whether it was a result of genuine dissatisfaction or it was pre-planned. This has never happened here as far as I know,” Mackenzie-Ncube said. He surmised that the anarchy was meant to embarrass Mnangagwa, who hails from the Midlands province.
“That it happened right at His Excellency’s (Mnangagwa)’s door step makes it even worse and that explains why we insist that we must get to the bottom of the matter.
“We were caught unawares,” Mackenzie-Ncube said, adding that the probe into the matter would not be done at provincial level because “we would be investigating ourselves”