Violence today erupted in Norton after police disrupted a Temba Mliswa rally as the campaign for the vacant parliamentary seat hots up.
Mliswa had to obtain a court order in order for the rally to go ahead after the Zimbabwe Republic Police refused to give the go ahead for the rally to proceed. The police have been consistent in denying opposition politicians and parties the green light to go ahead with their political gatherings while allowing ZANU PF gatherings to go ahead unhindered.
Trouble started when ruling ZANU PF supporters blocked the entrance of the venue of the rally insisting that the the rally would not go ahead. Instead of restraining the disruptive ZANU PF supporters police fired teargas dispersing all people that had gathered.
About 500 ZANU PF supporters were singing ‘ Temba uchaurayisa vana’ while an estimated 3000 Mliswa supporters were singing ‘vaudzei vavhotere Mliswa kuvhara hondo. Police struggled to keep the two groups apart.
Chaos escalated as war veterans arrived and started to chant ‘Bhuru Bhuru’ in support of Mliswa . Police had to call for reinforcements while ZANU PF supporters were addressed by their leader only identified as Cde Yondo.
ZANU PF’s Ronald Chindedza will lock horns with independent candidate Temba Mliswa and National Constitutional Assembly candidate David Choga
The seat fell vacant after War Veterans Chairman Chris Mutsvangwa was expelled by the ruling ZANU PF party. The war veterans have thrown their weight behind Mliswa who is a former Hurungwe ZANU PF legislator.
The election has been described as a litmus test for the factions within the ruling party. The war veterans have thrown their weight behind Mliswa and a victory for Mliswa may cause panic to President Mugabe who has fallen out with the former freedom fighters.
Mliswa has previously complained that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has not set up a police task force committee to guard against violence as required by the law. He also accused ZEC of not availing a credible voters role and shifting polling stations.
The election is likely to be tightly contested as both parties have a point to prove.
Listen to Temba Mliswa speak about situation in Norton last week.
more to follow…..