The youths, armed with stones and sticks, attacked this journalist with open hands and kicked him while lying down before taking his bag and other valuables. The attacks stopped when riot police came to the rescue, resulting in the youths fleeing, albeit temporarily before they regrouped and attacked a woman in the full glare of the law enforcement agents.
More than seven residents, including Chidhakwa, were seriously injured and were late in the afternoon on their way to report their cases to the police.
“I was told these Zanu PF thugs were hired from different locations. The reason for blocking the meeting was that land barons did not want a report on the Nyatsime stands to be presented to the meeting,” Chidhakwa said.
“The meeting was cleared by police. It was not a political meeting.”
Residents told The Standard that most of the Zanu PF youths were bussed from as far as Nyatsime by land barons and a Zanu PF councillor implicated in the recent land audit report.
It is alleged that the land barons and the youths were not happy with a story which appeared in the media in which the MP had asked about the fate of home seekers who had paid for stands in Nyatsime, but were yet to be allocated.
Residents said the land barons and the Zanu PF official were forcing home seekers to pay development fees to them and were pocketing the money. They allegedly feared Chidhakwa was going to expose them during the aborted meeting.
Trouble started when the youths hastily arranged a soccer match at the venue of the feedback meeting which had been cleared by police and was supposed to start at 12 midday.
When residents led by Chidhakwa were near the venue, the youths abandoned the “fake” soccer match and revealed their true motive by violently attacking residents, the MP and this journalist, who sought refuge in a nearby barber shop.
Officer commanding Chitungwiza District, Chief Superintend Ndou confirmed that the meeting had been sanctioned by the police and urged all those who were attacked to report the matter to the police. standard