The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai says its Member of Parliament for Budiriro, Costa Machingauta, is battling for his life in a local hospital after he was attached on Thursday by suspected Zanu PF supporters.
The party claimed Friday that Zanu PF activists attacked Machingauta and several other members at Budiriro shopping center following a rally on electoral reforms convened by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC-T organizing secretary Abednico Bhebhe said the attacks are a barbaric act by President Robert Mugabe’s party members.
Zanu PF spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo was not available for comment as he was not responding to calls. VOA Studio 7 reached Zanu PF activist and political commentator Morris Ngwenya, who said the MDC-T’s claims are frivolous.
In a statement, the Tsvangirai’s party said the MP was with some other party members at Budiriro Shopping Centre when the suspected Zanu PF activists asked why he was wearing an MDC-T-shirt.
“The MDC members tried in vain to explain to the thugs that he was an MP, but the thugs would not listen and began assaulting the party supporters and the MP with fists and iron bars. The MP was seriously injured and a report (was) made at Budiriro 2 police station before Machingauta was driven around midnight for treatment to a private clinic in Harare.”
It said other MDC members, who were injured and are seeking treatment, include Rhodrick Kahuni, Ethel Edward and Handsome Nyoni.
Tsvangirai, who visited the MP on Friday at the local hospital, said, "This is barbaric. We are witnessing the emergence of vigilantes in Budiriro just as we saw similar thugs in Mbare."
The MDC leader said the vicious assault on innocent party members showed that “the leopard has not changed its spots” and that Zanu PF “remains he violent party that it has always been.”
"This vindicates our position not to participate in these forthcoming by-elections. Such a toxic environment is totally uncalled for. When you have innocent citizens and an elected MP being viciously assaulted like that, it is cause for concern. I hope Africa and the broader international community are watching," he said.
The MDC hopes that the culprits, who are allegedly known Zanu PF activists in Budiriro, will be brought to book.