ACTING President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday caused a storm after he reportedly barged into Bulawayo Central Police Station, and expressed anger over the arrest of several Zanu PF activists in connection with the intra-party violence that occurred at the party’s provincial offices at Davis Hall on Sunday.
Mphoko and his aides allegedly drove into Bulawayo Central Police Station’s courtyard yesterday and interrogated the officer-in-charge, only identified as Chief Inspector Mpofu, and the Law and Order boss, whose name could not be immediately established, for nearly 20 minutes and left.
Insiders claimed Mphoko expressed his displeasure at the arrest of Zanu PF youths aligned to the G40 faction, who were allegedly implicated in the violence that rocked the party in Bulawayo at the weekend.
Repeated efforts to contact Mphoko and the Minister of State in his office, Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga were fruitless.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango was said to be out of the office, while national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi was said to be in a meeting.
This is not the first time that Mphoko has been accused of storming into a police station.
In July last year, he reportedly descended on Avondale Police Station in Harare at night and ordered the release of top Zimbabwe National Road Administration officials, who had been arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on graft allegations involving over $1 million.
Magura Charumbira, a Zanu PF Bulawayo city centre district youth chairperson, was allegedly stabbed on the head and face during the skirmishes, which also saw provincial youth leader Anna Mokgohloa sustaining injuries.
Charumbira and others wanted to stop a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting from proceeding, resulting in running battles.
They also wanted provincial chairperson Dennis Ndlovu ousted for allegedly frustrating the passing of a vote of no-confidence against the ruling party’s political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Ndlovu claimed the meeting had been cleared by Mphoko, who did not turn up, owing to the disturbances.
Yesterday, three Zanu PF youth members and six war veterans linked to the violent clashes appeared yesterday before magistrate Tinashe Tashaya facing various charges, ranging from malicious damage to property, assault, criminal insult to indecent assault.
The three youths, who include Charumbira (32), who was stabbed during the melee, Mabutho Moyo (32) and Davis Muhambi (35), were represented by lawyer Tanaka Muganyi instructed by Christopher Dube-Banda.
The complainant in the matter, George Mlala, claimed the suspects physically attacked him when he denied them permission to attend the PCC meeting.
He claimed the trio turned rowdy and stoned the party offices, in the process breaking two window panes and a door.
Mlala claimed he saw Muhambi holding a canister spray.
Another Zanu PF activist, Abigail Nyamunga (53), appeared before the same magistrate charged with assault, while her alleged accomplice, Edward Ndlovu, did not attend court.
They were alleged to have accused Mlala of favouring one faction when he was screening delegates to the PCC meeting.
Nyamunga allegedly grabbed Mlala by the belt of his pair of trousers, while Ndlovu attacked him with fists in full view of other party members and he sustained a swollen face.
War veterans Cephas Ncube (59), Juliet Sibanda (55) and Luke Mpofu (64) were charged for assaulting provincial youth leader Makgohloa (34), accusing her of being sympathetic to Kasukuwere.
They allegedly dragged her to the fence, where Ncube slapped her and assaulted her with fists all over the body and allegedly fondled her breasts while searching for a knife, which had been used to stab Charumbira.
Sibanda and Mpofu allegedly joined in and assaulted her.
The magistrate remanded all the matters to June 2 for trial, amid reports that a group of other Zanu PF activists, accused of assaulting Charumbira, would appear in court today.-Newsday