Bulawayo, May 15, 2014-MDC-T and Zanu PF members almost came to blows on Tuesday at Bulawayo Press Club meeting that was later abandoned after a fierce misunderstanding over the interpretation of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) blue-print.
The meeting, which was held at a local hotel, was supposed to gather parties to discuss the role of the media in the implementation of ZimAsset, but degenerated into chaos.
There were skirmishes as Zanu PF members interjected and grumbled whenever MDC-T representative, the Bulawayo youth assembly provincial secretary-general Kunashe Muchemwa, contributed to the discussion.
Muchemwa criticised the ZimAsset policy saying the blueprint had a negative impact on the economy that has been deteriorating in the last 10 months.
But he was heckled by a member of the audience who said Muchemwa was a “ young man” who had no clue about reviving the economy and that ZimAsset was better than the MDC-T Juice (Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment) blueprint which he described as a “a day-dreamer’s paper”.
MDC-T members in turn mocked Zanu PF cadres for stealing some of the ideas they used in their ZimAsset document from the Juice policy, leading to a heated debate.
Tempers flared when Muchemwa said the average age of Zanu PF Cabinet ministers, with the exception of Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi and Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere, was 70 years, resulting in Zanu-PF members hurling insults and threats to the MDC-T youth leader.
Some of the Zanu-PF party members wanted to manhandle Muchemwa saying the “MDC-T fools needed to be thrashed thoroughly” as they were outnumbered.
An unidentified man in the audience said the agenda by the MDC-T members was to unleash violence as shown by the assault on Elliot Mangoma for calling for leadership renewal in the party.
Bulawayo Press Club chairman, Pamenus Tuso, tried to restore order and allow tempers to cool down, but his efforts were in vain.
“The majority of our meetings are peaceful and without disturbance,” he said. “This was supposed to be a discussion platform, but it has turned into a battlefield. The problem is that both the political parties came here with an agenda.”
Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial secretary for administration, Elifasi Mashaba, who also attended the meeting, said political parties must be sober-minded when discussing national issues.
“When discussing national issues that are of public interest, people must be sober-minded and political parties must set aside their differences in order to achieve a common goal,” he said.
However, both parties agreed that government should do more to educate the public about the ZimAsset policy