By A Correspondent- Zvimba East Member of Parliament, Tawanda Tungamirai punched and verbally assaulted a fellow Zanu PF youth member Saturday just before the party’s decisive meeting to pass a resolution to hold district elections.
The incident occurred at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) grounds as party members converged for a provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting to give the green light to the conduct of polls, which had been put on ice to pave way for the completion of a restructuring exercise.
Tungamirai assaulted Wonder Hutepasi from Banket in Zvimba South for allegedly denigrating him on social media, including a party WhatsApp group.
Tungamirai is the son of late national hero and former Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.
This journalist witnessed the drama unfold as the temperamental lawmaker emerged from his Toyota Fortuner and confronted Hutepasi threatening to beat him up or hire thugs to “finish you off.”
The MP used vul_gar language as he unleashed his diatribe against a visibly shocked Hutepasi, who stood motionless among a small group of fellow party youths.
As if that was not enough, Tungamirai dragged by the hand a hapless Hutepasi closer to his vehicle in order to isolate him from the crowd and took the opportunity to punch him using a clenched fist once on the mouth.
Hutepasi only had deputy provincial commissar Nigel Murambiwa to thank who sprang to his defence when Tungamirai, who was shouting unprintable insults and poking his victim, was evidently not done yet.
Hutepasi later told a nlocal publication he spat blood following the assault by Tungamirai.
“I sustained a cut inside my mouth which was oozing out blood, l was spitting blood. I am shocked why he beat me up. This is dishonourable conduct by an MP,” said Hutepasi, adding senior party leaders counselled him against making a police report.
The violence happened in front of two Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) intelligence officers.
According to sources, Tungamirai was recently assigned by the party to verify grassroots structures in Zvimba South, where he reportedly raised a red flag over the eligibility of some listed members who are in Hutepasi’s faction.
This invited a backlash from the garrulous Hutepasi on Zanu PF social media platforms alleging Tungamirai was working with Zvimba district coordinating committee (DCC) chairman, Bywell Mbirimi to decimate their camp.
Mashonaland West grassroots structures were in shambles, a development that forced the postponement of internal elections to choose district leaders.
There are reports lists of relief food aid beneficiaries, non-members, expelled cadres, and uncleared returnees that were presented to the commissariat as bona-fide Zanu PF members.
This saw a delay in the holding of district elections scheduled for September.
District members constitute the Electoral College to choose provincial committee members, including the chairperson.
Contestants eyeing the chairman post are reportedly financing the “rigging” of structures, where names of ineligible cadres appeared on provisional lists recently submitted to the Commissariat department for vetting.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza, acting Zanu PF provincial chairperson Abiel Mujeri and provincial Youth League chair Vengi Musengi are set to contest the impending provincial chairperson elections to replace Ziyambi, who was in June elevated to the Politburo.
Meanwhile, factional violence in Zanu PF has turned physical in the Midlands province, with senior officials exchanging blows in public last weekend in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s troubled citadel.
Preparations for the party’s congress next year, which are preceded by restructuring and elections from grassroots level, have been problematic and marred with intimidation and violence as a faction aligned to State Security minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube and incumbent chairman Daniel Mackenzie Ncube battle for party leadership.
Both factions claim loyalty to Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF Gweru district secretary for adminstration Slemani Kwidini was allegedly “heavily assaulted” by central committee member Wellington Magura at a restaurant in the Midlands capital on Saturday.
Kwidini is rallying behind Mudha Ncube while Magura is in the faction backing Mackenzie Ncube.
The matter has since been reported at Gweru Central Police station under CR number 88/10/2021 although none of the people involved are yet to appear in court.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko would neither deny nor confirm receiving such a report, saying police usually issue Press releases on fresh cases.
“Usually we issue Press releases when it is sought on fresh cases. For old stories we encourage journalists to take stories from the courts. There will obviously be (new) developments from the time of the reports,” Mahoko said.
Further investigations by this publication however showed that the matter is not yet before the courts.
ontacted for comment, Kwidini confirmed reporting the alleged assault at Gweru Central Police station.
The fist fight occurred at Milan entertainment joint.
Magura did not respond to questions sent to him via WhatsApp, although the messages had been delivered to his mobile number.
But two letters signed by two Milan directors, one Richard Murombedzi and Taleeb Mohamed and addressed to provincial party chairperson Mckenzie Ncube and Kwidini respectively, revealed the banning for three months of those involved in the scuffle at the restaurant.
“l look forward to meeting and demonstrating actions that took place that night (last weekend) with party officials that were witness to these events. Attached is our official letter barring from entry party cadres (involved in the scuffle),” part of the letter addressed to Ncube read.
Mackenzie Ncube, however, did not respond to enquires sent to him over the matter.
A letter sent to Kwidini reads:
“This has left us with no option but to inform you as an individual and your accomplices Mr Dominic and Mr Jassi. We do not condone such behaviour totally and your friends as such are not welcome on these premises for a period of three months. We feel the actions of this group have self-interests totally against the HE (Mnangagwa) mantra of Vision 2030, which we support,” the Milan management officials wrote.
According to party officials, Mackenzie Ncube has the backing of minister in the President’s office Joram Gumbo while Mudha Ncube’s allies include prominent figures like Local Government minister July Moyo.
“These fights are largely sparked by factional struggles,” a party insider said.