HARARE – Deadly violence broke out in the restive Midlands province yesterday when rowdy Zanu PF supporters linked to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa descended on their party foes in the Generation 40 (G40) camp who were scheduled to attend a meeting convened by national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Sources on the ground told the Daily News last night that although the main target of the attack was Kasukuwere — who was dispatched to the troubled province by President Robert Mugabe after warring party officials there set up parallel structures — the frustrated Team Lacoste thugs went for anyone who was close to the venue of the meeting after failing to lay their hands on the Local Government minister, leaving two people battling for their lives.
Contacted for comment, former regional acting chairperson Tapiwa Matangaidze confirmed the chaos, adding “I heard that some people were beaten and I am rushing to the hospital to see them now”.
And while a cagey Kasukuwere himself was not willing to discuss the issue with the media last night, the Daily News’ sources at the meeting said the youthful minister had undoubtedly been the target of the attacks by members of the infamous “Al Shabab” vigilante group that has been wreaking havoc in the province
They arrived in a kombi and a truck and accused us of being members of G40.
“Then they started to assault us indiscriminately and with beastly violence, even as we desperately tried to explain to them that we were not members of this so-called G40 faction,” one of the victims, a mechanic who was working at a workshop some two kilometres from the venue of the Gweru meeting said.
An insider claimed that the violence showed that Mnangagwa’s allies were desperate to “retain control of the Midlands at all costs” as the violence instigators were allegedly clad in Team Lacoste branded T-shirts.
Speaking earlier at the meeting, Kasukuwere announced that the party had now decided to appoint Joram Gumbo as the acting provincial chairperson, in addition to reversing the myriad votes of no confidences that had been passed against mainly Team Lacoste members.
The latter move suggests that Mnangagwa has for now retained his alleged control of the province.