FORMER Energy deputy minister Munacho Mutezo was publicly humiliated and assaulted by Zanu PF activists during Independence Day celebrations in Nyanyadzi last Saturday, for allegedly aligning with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, a local Newsday has reported.
The beating comes at a time Zanu PF is deeply divided and purging of suspected Mujuru allies has reached a crescendo.
Mutezo was fired together with 16 other Cabinet ministers and deputies from both the government and Zanu PF for allegedly plotting to usurp power from President Robert Mugabe through unconstitutional means.
It is understood that Mutezo was booed by Zanu PF supporters and blocked from addressing the
gathering before he was assaulted by a war veteran, only identified as Brown Gwinya, over links to the Mujuru camp.
The incident occurred in the presence of police, who reportedly intervened and restored order. But senior Zanu PF officials at the scene last night blamed the police officers for failing to make arrests.
Mutezo had reportedly taken to the podium to give a solidarity statement as MP for Chimanimani West, but had the microphone seized from him before he was punched and ordered to leave.
Gwinya yesterday said the police were better placed to comment on the issue since they witnessed the incident, before he turned hostile and demanded to know who had leaked the story to NewsDay.
“I am a war veteran. I fought for this country,” he fumed.
Although Mutezo declined to comment on the issue yesterday, Zanu PF Manicaland provincial deputy youth chairman Mubuso Chinguno confirmed the assault.
“I was there when the incident happened. The real issue is that Mutezo was implicated in the plot to assassinate the President. He is also a divisive element who was at the centre of vote-buying,” Chinguno said.
“The leadership of Chimanimani, particularly youths and women, are saying he should go.”
Several perceived Mujuru allies have also suffered public humiliation at the hands of Zanu PF supporters for allegedly plotting Mugabe’s downfall.
Mutezo yesterday accused some provincial executive members of seeking to tarnish his political image by linking him to the anti-Mugabe faction.
A senior Zanu PF official who attended the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “They are even trying to influence a move to recall him (Mutezo) from Parliament to pave way for Letina Undenge, the wife of acting Zanu PF provincial chair Samuel Undenge. However, police managed to control the situation as people were divided over how Mutezo was being treated.”
Zanu PF Manicaland provincial secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera said the party was still awaiting a detailed report on the incident.
“We are still waiting for that report concerning the incident. We cannot comment now because we are still waiting for the details so that we establish what really happened, who beat who,” Saruchera said.
Manicaland police provincial spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri could not comment last night, indicating he was in Bulawayo preparing for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.