Kwekwe MP Masango Matambanadzo nearly assaulted mayor Matenda Madzoke for allegedly denying him an opportunity to speak at a press conference.
BY OUR STAFF
The conference was called on Friday to give the media an insight into the stampede that occurred at Mbizo Stadium where the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries headed by Walter Magaya had a church service on Thursday night.
Eleven people died while several were left injured as they tried to leave the stadium.
Matambanadzo surprised all and sundry when he charged towards Madzoke during the press conference that was also attended by Magaya, District Administrator Tenpercent Mutikizizi and former minister July Moyo.
The MP, who is currently facing charges of assaulting Gokwe Kana MP Owen Ncube, accused Madzoke of sabotaging and plotting his downfall.
However, Madzoke was saved from assault by fellow councillor Silas Chaduka who stepped in between the two Zanu PF politicians.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, who witnessed the incident, said while he did not agree with Matambanadzo’s way of solving problems, the MP should have been given a chance to address the press conference.
“Violence is never a method to solve a problem, especially under these circumstances, but I strongly believe that Matambanadzo and myself as legislators for those affected by the stampede should have been allowed to speak,” he said.
“I felt that what happened was a manifestation of Zanu PF factional fights in which Matambanadzo — who is viewed as a Mujuru ally — is being denied a chance to connect with his constituency,” said Chikwinya.
Madzoke, whose council donated US$100 to each of the 11 affected families and a free grave for those who will be buried in Kwekwe, said he was shocked by the attack.
“I did not call for this press conference and like the MP, I was also invited and therefore it is shocking to think that I am plotting his downfall,” he said.
During the press conference Magaya said his church would meet all the medical bills for those who were injured and the funeral expenses of the deceased.
“So far we have met with all families of those affected and have given them US$1 000 each to meet their immediate needs. Thereafter we will assess individual circumstances and release further funding accordingly,” he said.
Magaya told journalists that his church was forced to cancel the Friday all-night prayer meeting even though thousands continued to throng the stadium regardless of the disaster.
“With 11 bodies in the mortuary and several other people injured, we could not go ahead with the all-night prayer but instead we got everyone at the venue anointed with oil which in itself is a special event,” he said.
Magaya did not take any questions from the journalists.
Police, who are accused of causing the stampede through poor crowd handling tactics, did not attend the press conference even though they were invited and were expected to speak.