Chipangano crushes MDC rally
By Gift Phiri and Lloyd Mbiba
HARARE – Armed police watched helplessly as five people were injured in
Sunningdale yesterday during a violent attack by Chipangango terror group
which crushed an MDC rally that had been cleared by them.
About 200 MDC supporters had turned up for the rally in the working class
suburb of Sunningdale.
“We were attacked as we were preparing for our peaceful rally, we had police
permission and we don’t know what made them attack us,” Sunningdale MP
Margaret Matienga, told the Daily News on Sunday.
“It was a violent disruption,” she said.
Police spokesmen for Harare province, Inspector James Sabau said he could
not immediately comment on the disruption of the rally as he was out of
“I’m actually on my way from Bulawayo, and I am not aware of what actually
transpired,” Sabau said.
MDC spokesman for Harare province, Senator Obert Gutu alleged Zanu PF Harare
province youth chairman Jim Kunaka arrived at the venue of the rally in a
white Defender vehicle mid-morning to assess.
There were about 15 vehicles parked at the venue.
The Defender vehicle is said to have driven off, but returned with
Some of the thugs were said to have been bused in a commuter omnibus from
Mbare and were dropped off at the bus terminus and stealthily made their way
to the venue where they pounced on the organisers.
At least five people ended up with broken ribs, fractured arms, concussions
and other soft-tissue injuries as a result of blows from chairs and other
sticks by the Chipangano militia — a youth brigade of President Mugabe’s
The five were admitted in hospital.
Gutu said they had no option but call off the rally.
“The rally had been okayed by the ZRP,” Gutu said.
In a letter seen by the Daily News on Sunday from the officer commanding
Mbare district police, Supt P Mthetwa dated March 9, 2012; police explicitly
gave the rally the green light and promised to provide security.
“We have no objection to you holding a political rally at an open space
between Sunningdale 1 and 2 from 10:00-16:00hrs,” the police’s letter to
“Jim Kunaka actually arrived in a white (police) Defender vehicle,” Gutu
said. “They then started assaulting our youths at the MDC rally venue in
Sunningdale. The Zanu PF thugs also stole our tents.”
Kunaka yesterday rejected the MDC accusations and said he was nowhere near
the MDC rally. He claimed he was at his daughter’s birthday party at that
Sunningdale councillor for Ward 10, Musa Macheza who is also the district
chairman for Sunningdale said this incident was most unfortunate considering
that Zanu PF is clamouring for elections.
“What happened here is very unfair. This goes on to show that we are not
allowed to hold rallies in Zimbabwe. What even hurts the most is that a
whole load of policemen just stood arms akimbo as we were being attacked.
“I shudder to think what is happening in rural areas if we are beaten here
“There is no way we are going for elections when people are being beaten
like this,” he added.
Macheza said police knew about the attack and that is the reason why they
did not take action.
“Yesterday (Friday) we got a warning that the rally should not take place
because it would be disrupted.
“We then duly informed the police about this. When we got here and saw the
heavy presence of the police we thought they were here to protect us.
However they were here to watch us being beaten.”
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