By- Senior Zanu PF members in Midlands, Thursday directed police to block a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rally set for Simchembo 1, Gokwe-Kabuyuni Constituency.
Zanu PF members also assaulted four journalists on their way to cover the rally.
Initially, the Zanu PF thugs blocked CCC leader Nelson Chamisa from addressing the rally.
The seat fell vacant after the death of Zanu PF legislator Leonard Chikomba.
Led by Local Government minister July Moyo, provincial party chairperson Larry Mavhima and Mackenzie Ncube, police besieged the venue where the CCC had already pitched its stage in preparation for the rally.
The ministers were seen by NewsDay directing the police to disperse opposition supporters.
Senior police officers then approached CCC interim organising secretary Amos Chibaya to disperse the crowd saying the environment was not conducive to hold their rally.
Chibaya, Josiah Makombe, Prince Dube and other senior CCC members confronted the Zanu PF senior members that included Ncube, Moyo and Mavhima, asking them to produce the clearance letter allowing Zanu PF to hold its rally at the same venue.
In an interview, Chibaya said: “We are surprised that the police are now trying to block our rally which they cleared. It is worrisome that they are taking orders from Zanu PF in our sight. They are afraid to tell Zanu PF leaders not to disturb our rally.”
Three journalists from the Technology Magazine (TechnoMag) and one from ZimDaily were attacked at Chitekete Growth Point on their way to cover the rally.
Toneo Rutsito, Tongai Mwenje, Pellagia Mpurwa, from TechnoMag and Chelsea Mashayamombe from ZimDaily lost their cameras and mobile phones to the Zanu PF supporters during the skirmishes.
Mpurwa briefly passed out during the assault.
Rutsito lost a tooth, Mwenje sustained a deep cut on his forehead and Mashayamombe complained of leg pain after being struck with various items on their backs as they lay on the ground.
“We were only saved after a Toyota V8 vehicle arrived and one of them said, the boss has said you can now free them,” Mwenje said.
They, however, failed to identify the said boss in the Toyota V8 vehicle.
The journalists made a police report at Chitekete Police Station.
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the Gokwe violence was evidence that the country was headed towards violent polls in 2023.
“The recent events of increased violent attacks on the opposition clearly indicate that 2023 is going to be the most violent election that Zimbabwe has ever seen,” Mukundu said.
“What is needed now is unified efforts from civic groups and the opposition in pushing back through advocacy and engaging the regional groups and the international community to mitigate the violence that we are currently seeing in the country.”
Another political commentator Vivid Gwede said: “The permissive attitude of the police and lack of concern by the nation’s leadership simply adds to this foreseeable tragedy now inevitably set to unveil next year.”