By Sibonginkosi Maphosa and Silas Nkala | NewsDay |
There was drama in the Bulawayo city centre on Wednesday morning when a group of suspected Zanu PF youths pounced on the outspoken Ntabazinduna Chief Ndiweni and attempted to seize his official vehicle.
The controversial traditional leader sprinkled petrol on the twin cab Isuzu vehicle and threatened to burn it, forcing the youth to scurry for safety.
The incident happened near the Exchange Building at the corner of JM Nkomo and Leopold Takawira Avenue where the traditional leader had parked.
Ndiweni last week declared that he did not recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration and that he supported sanctions against government officials who were not respecting human rights and the rule of law.
“A group of eight men pounced on him, trying to force him to hand over the vehicle they described as a government car. The chief tried to resist, but relented and asked to be allowed to take out his belongings,” a witness said.
“The chief opened the driver’s door and took out a few things. He then went to the back where he came out with a jerry can with petrol and sprayed the vehicle before threatening to burn it.”
Sensing danger, the youths bolted away.
“That is when he got the chance to drive off. The thugs, were driving two Ford Rangers, a white and a black one without number plates. One of the cars was branded Zanu PF,” the witness added.
“Youths have attacked me in the Bulawayo CBD. The youths, moving in a party vehicle, wanted to seize my car, saying they had been sent by party officials to retrieve the government issued vehicle, were forced to retreat after I sprayed the car with fuel, threatening to burn it,” the traditional leader tweeted.
Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman Richard Moyo declined to comment, saying he was in Harare.
“I am in a Harare and I cannot comment for now because I have not heard a report of that nature, maybe if you call me later I might have information,” he said.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said he was attending a politburo meeting, while the party’s deputy secretary for administration in the youth assembly, Mabutho Moyo described the incident as fake.
“That is a fake incident,” Moyo said.
Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo said: “Such actions are so disappointing. We claim to be a democratic State. What kind of democracy do we have that does not allow freedom of speech? The government should engage him (Chief Ndiweni) rather than be violent to him.”
Mthwakazi Republic Party president Mqondisi Moyo said his party has started mobilising youths to defend and protect the chief from rowdy Zanu PF activists.