Violence erupted in Harare’s Mabvuku high-density suburb Thursday between Zanu PF members and supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai when former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai toured some council projects in the area.
Some Zanu PF supporters, clad in their regalia and using a party vehicle inscribed “Zanu PF Harare Province”, barricaded the main road leading into Mabvuku, off the Harare-Mutare highway with stones and logs to stop Mr. Tsvangirai’s tour.
However, Mr. Tsvangirai’s motorcade had to negotiate its way through the bush into Mabvuku where the former premier’s first stop was Mabvuku Police Station where he registered a complaint.
A vehicle that was carrying journalists sped off when the newsmen were trying to take pictures of the Zanu PF youths barricading the road.
MDC-T’s local councilor for Mabvuku’s Ward 21, Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwe, and former Harare city councilor, Peter Marange, were pelted with stones and suffered head injuries. Marange told Studio 7 that he was also dragged on the tarmac by the vicious Zanu PF youths.
After making a report at the police, Tsvangirai’s entourage, that included MDC-T deputy national chairperson Morgan Komichi and Harare deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva, proceeded to Kamunhu Shopping Center to view a market that the council is setting up.
Muzuva told the former premier that the market stalls were almost complete but a shortage of funds had delayed their completion.
While Muzuva-led the former prime minister was touring the market stalls, an unidentified number of vehicles carrying Zanu PF youths arrived at the scene, dropped them off. They started throwing stones at MDC members in Mr. Tsvangirai’s entourage resulting in local MDC activists, who were following their leader, retaliating. In the fracas, some Zanu PF vehicles had their windows smashed before they sped off.
The opposition leader also took his tour to Old Tafara to have a look at some boreholes that were drilled by council in partnership with a foreign company in a bid by the city fathers to end the water problems in the area where a multitude of his supporters gathered after the news of his impending visit filtered through.
There, Tsvangirai told the MDC-T members that he would not allow Zanu PF to declare some no-go areas throughout the country, let alone in Mabvuku-Tafara, which his party controls.
After his tour, Tsvangirai told journalists at his Highlands residence that President Robert Mugabe should put a stop to violence that is resurfacing in most parts of the country.
He said Thursday’s incident and other cases being reported in some parts of the country, are a serious indictment on Mr. Mugabe who is also the chairman of both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.
The former prime minister also praised the local authority for working hard to address the plight of the people in Mabvuku and Tafara, especially on water provision despite the current difficult economic conditions in the country.
Tsvangirai is expected to visit several places countrywide to get first hand the people’s living conditions.