ZANU PF Director of Information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi has claimed that members of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) triggered the violence that occurred in Matobo, Matebeleland South on Sunday.
The opposition party had claimed that two legislators, Daniel Molokele and Kucaca Phulu, were “violently attacked” by ZANU PF members while mobilising voters ahead of the by-elections.
CCC also claimed that some female party members were stripped naked and assaulted by suspected ZANU PF members.
In response to the claims, Mugwadi alleged opposition activists triggered the violence by chasing after ZANU PF elements and stripped naked to attract attention. He wrote:
So they were recording this video while dodging bullets? We have always said CCC shameless charlatans have nothing to offer the electorate besides provoking violence.
It is clear they were chasing Zanu-PF vehicles and agitating for confrontation. The drama ended with stripping adult women.
See, they are legendary strippers. They have done that before. They also faint at Parliament. They can fake everything. If they were forced to remove CCC T-shirt as stupidly alleged so, the 3rd woman at the back with her CCC T-shirt is a martial artist right? #Dramaqueens.
CCC party spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere Monday maintained their supporters were waylaid and attacked by ZANU PF thugs.
She claimed scores of people had to be hospitalised, and some lost property and food. She said:
Developments in Matobo confirm our call for a conducive environment for elections in Zimbabwe and a pre-election pact on reforms especially security of the voter and freedoms for citizens What we are seeing under (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa is not just the continued shrinking of the democratic space, but a complete collapse into lawlessness.
The campaign team met a convoy of Zanu-PF trucks (branded) numbering seven, that group barricaded the road and attacked Hon Nyoni’s truck damaging windows. He, however, managed to speed and evaded the illegal blockade.
Our team then drove to the Campaign Command Centre and the Zanu-PF supporters followed and barricaded the whole place, Kucaca Phulu and Nonhlanhla Mlotshwa went to try and engage them so as to understand what they wanted but before they could reach them, they started to throw stones at them.
Our team then retreated as gunshots were fired. A total of about five shots were fired by the Zanu-PF supporters. The team and agents abandoned the homestead and the Zanu-PF supporters proceeded to attack the homestead, breaking doors and all window panes.
They further attacked and damaged nine bicycles and four vehicles, breaking all windows and deflated tyres, they got into the house and looted groceries including meat that was being cooked.
They also took about 50 x 10kg bags of mealie meal, and also stole an undisclosed amount of money from the house.
Politically-motivated violence has been on the rise in Zimbabwe since last year and fears abound that it could escalate and jeopardise the credibility of the 2023 elections.