The people which had gathered for a tree plantation ceremony included children from the Reformed Church of Zimbabwe-run Copota School for the deaf, dumb and blind, as well as school children from nearby schools.
Zanu (PF) central committee member Clemence Makwarimba, who is the chief executive officer of Masvingo Rural District Council, ordered the villagers to stay put in the open despite the torrential downpour.
“The rains have come but let’s ignore them. We will go ahead. Border Gezi youths should see to it that no-one moves from where they are seated,” Makwarimba said.
And as the downpour became heavier and heavier, Mutasa went ahead with his long speech, and ordered people not to move. “I am going to deliver my speech despite the rains, just listen,” said Mutasa.
By this time the crowds who were now drenched from the rain could not take it any longer and in a pandemonium took cover under trees and in a nearby tent provided for the VIP guests, making so much noise that drowned Mutasa’s speech.
Mutasa however, went ahead with his speech and blasted the coalition of nongovernmental organisations for campaigning for sanctions on Zimbabwe to stay.
Zanu (PF) youths broke into dance singing: “Team Team ndikusetere team, Chingotongai Makadaro”, a popular Zanu (PF) jingle which is played every day by the state owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation as soon as Mutasa finished reading his speech. The youths gyrated in front of Mutasa, Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge, Governor Titus Maluleke and other party officials who were sitting in a tent.
But some of the villagers interviewed afterwards said the politicians took them for granted.
“Apart from forcing us to come here, they have taken us for a ride. They could have temporarily halted the programme and resume after the rain had stopped. This is abuse. The school children are very wet and without jerseys. They are trembling from the cold,” said a villager.
Zanu (PF) chairman Lovemore Matuke defended the move to go ahead with the rally.
“We have a very senior party official in the province, and you wanted us to call off the function? What if the rains did not stop? After all, freedom fighters in the liberation struggle endured this for you and me,’ Matuke said.