A group of rowdy Zanu PF supporters destroyed council property at the Kwekwe Theatre late Friday and sent speakers at the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) organised meeting scurrying for cover.
The youths, who had been invited for the discussion centred around electoral reforms, turned violent accusing speakers from other parties, which included MDC, MDC-T and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), of turning the meeting into a rally.
Speakers who included former Kwekwe Central MP Blessing Chebundo and former Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya scurried
out of the theatre as the youths destroyed the podium, chairs and bottles while they sang and danced during the pandemonium.
Plain-clothed police who had been deployed to attend the event silently left the venue as it degenerated into chaos.
Posters and banners belonging to ZESN were tossed into the air before being reduced to ashes by the youths who referred to themselves as al-Shabaab after the notorious terror group in Kenya.
Chikwinya of the PDP condemned the conduct of Zanu PF youths, saying it reflected the yawning gap between what is envisaged in the Constitution and reality.
“This clearly shows that we are a country that does not respect the rule of law and constitutionalism.
There is a gap between what happens in this country and what the Constitution says,” he said.
He also condemned the police for running away and failing to provide security for the event, which they had not only provided clearance for, but attended.
“I saw plain-clothed police who clearly ran away when the chaos begun and in a way I have sympathy for them because in as much as they would have wanted to provide security, their hands are tied because these youths are backed by top people,” he said.
ZESN condemned the disruption of the meeting by alleged Zanu PF youths.
“The rowdy youths who destroyed tables, ZESN IEC materials and newsletters argued that the organisation should not be advocating for electoral reforms,” reads part of the ZESN statement.
The meeting was being held as part of on-going deliberations on electoral reforms in view of the 2018 harmonised elections and had been cleared by the police.