SUSPECTED Zanu PF supporters allegedly assaulted Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice chairperson, Jessie Majome, while disrupting an electoral reforms public hearing in Mutare yesterday.
According to witnesses, the assailants, mostly women, charged at Majome and dragged her by the collar baying for her blood.
Majome has since reported the incident at Dangamvura Police Station.
The disruption in Mutare follows similar incidents at a hotel in Mutoko on Wednesday.
According to the Election Resource Centre (ERC), the meeting, which was being held at Beit Hall in Dangamvura, had attracted over 500 people.
The election think-tank said the skirmishes started after three members of the public made contributions regarding electoral reforms.
“Suspected Zanu PF youths, alleged to have been bussed in by Dangamvura-Chikanga legislator Esau Mupfumi, interrupted the meeting.
“Three members of the public had contributed their views on the petition before the meeting was turned into chaos,” a witness said.
But a Zanu PF official blamed Majome for causing the scuffle, claiming the hearing was one-sided and stage-managed.
“How come they first picked Mutare mayor, Tatenda Nhamarare, MDC-T’s women’s assembly boss, Lynette Karenyi and former Mutare mayor, George Jerrison?” quizzed the official.
“They then picked their councillor in Dangamvura, Crispen Dube, then their Manicaland youth chair, Itai Masaka, then again another member from the party. That is when the melee started.’’
Majome was reportedly whisked away from the hall by Nhemarare’s driver, Kingstone Mutandi, and Jerrison, as Zanu PF supporters bayed for her blood.
Nhamarare confirmed the skirmishes, but defended Majome before scoffing at Zanu PF’s claims that the hearing was one-sided.
“It was not a political meeting. Everyone was supposed to contribute and there is nothing wrong to be the first one to contribute. Am I not a Mutare resident?” he queried.
“After all, they (Zanu PF supporters) were not raising their hands. If you do not raise your hand, how do you expect to be picked? ’’
The ERC said it was gravely concerned at the growing trend, which was a clear indication of deliberate efforts to disrupt the ongoing hearings aimed at soliciting public input towards alignment of electoral laws with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“It is the hope of the ERC that the success of this process would be a first step towards constitutionalism, credible elections and the creation of a level playing field in electoral processes,” ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini said.
“However, some political parties, who have for a long time benefited from the status quo, are clearly against these efforts of improving electoral processes in the country. Zimbabwean citizens must be allowed to freely express themselves and contribute towards the holding of free, fair and credible elections.”
He said attacks on MPs were unacceptable and called on the police to arrest the perpetrators to face the full wrath of law.-AMH