ZANU-PF has dismissed claims that its supporters assaulted National Constitutional Assembly candidate, Mr Madock Chivasa ahead of tomorrow’s by-election in Bikita West constituency while police say they are still investigating the causes of the violence.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said police had received a report of assault but were still investigating the whereabouts of the assailants.
“We have received an assault report with case number 64/1/17 and we are investigating the identity of the assailants and the causes. After reporting the case, Chivasa was treated and discharged the same night in Masvingo. He was not admitted as reported in some quarters. As I am talking to you, Chivasa is attending a multiparty meeting of the candidates that is being chaired by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
Zec Masvingo provincial manager Mr Zex Pudurai said no report of Mr Chivasa’s alleged assault had been made to the multi-party liaison committee for the Bikita West by-election as of yesterday.
The committee comprises aspiring candidates in an election or their election agents together with representatives of the police and the electoral body with the aim of harmonising operations prior to, during and after polls.
In an interview with our Harare Bureau, Mr Chivasa claimed that he was assaulted by Zanu-PF supporters who were allegedly bused from Marondera by Marondera Central MP, Cde Lawrence Katsiru.
He alleged he was assaulted at Tongonya Bar at Nyika Growth Point.
However, Masvingo Zanu-PF provincial chairperson, Cde Amasa Nhenjana said Zanu-PF had nothing to do with the people who allegedly assaulted Mr Chivasa.
“We are told that he was assaulted at Tongonya Bar, which is a place that has nothing to do with us. If he told us he had been assaulted at our rally or his rally, we would have understood not someone who was assaulted at a bar.
“Our leadership has been camped in Bikita for days now and to be honest, we have not heard of any violence around this area. We have told our members to be peaceful and they have been so even in the face of clear provocation from Kudakwashe Gopo (Zimbabwe People First candidate). (Mr) Gopo has been coming to our rallies but we made it clear that we will not fall for the trap because we could see that they wanted our supporters to attack them so that they discredit the by-election,” said Cde Nhenjana.
He also dismissed as childish allegations that the ruling party was buying votes in Bikita West using agricultural inputs.
‘’Seed and fertilisers are not being given to people in Bikita West only but even in Hurungwe, Kariba, Gokwe and other parts of the country but are there by-elections in those areas? The Zanu-PF Government is giving people inputs because it during the rainy season. Maybe the opposition parties that want to get into power want to rule a nation of dead bodies. What will people eat if they are not given inputs to produce their own food?’’
He said opposition parties were aware that they would lose against Zanu-PF in a peaceful election but were now concocting reports of violence to discredit the poll.
Cde Katsiru said he just heard of rumours about his involvement from the media. “I went to Bikita on Saturday and spoke to leaders from my church (Johanne Masowe eChishanu) where I encouraged them to vote for Zanu-PF candidate. After the meeting, I went to Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo where I slept.
“I never encouraged anyone to be violent. Why would I want to take violence to other people’s province when I have just come from a by-election that was the most peaceful?
“Besides, the vehicle that they claim I used to ferry people from Marondera was in the garage in Marondera. I used a Honda Fit to Bikita for the Acting President’s rally. My mission was to talk members of my church to vote for the Zanu-PF candidate. If they accuse me of encouraging those people of my church to vote for Zanu-PF, then I admit,” said Cde Katsiru.
Besides the Zanu-PF candidate Cde Betty Chabaya and Mr Chivasa, other candidates vying for the Bikita West parliamentary seat are Mr Kudakwashe Gopo of ZimPF, Terrence Makumbo (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) together with independent candidates Mr Innocent Muzvimbiri and Mr Heya Shoko who is an ex-Member of Parliament for the constituency.
The by-election is being held to fill a vacancy created after the jailing of Munyaradzi Kereke who was the legislator for the area-for an effective 10 years-for rape.
Article Source: The Chronicle