SCORES of Zanu PF supporters were left with egg on their face yesterday after their plans to disrupt Citizens Coalition for Change (CC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s campain rally in Chivhu, Mashonaland East province, turned into a wild goose chase amid reports that the opposition leader had sold them a dummy.
Over 80 placard-wielding Zanu PF members camped at the Chikomba Rural District Council offices in the morning baying for Chamisa’s head, only to disperse later in the day after it emerged that the purported rally was a hoax.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said: “Zanu PF is desperate and seeing shadows and ghosts everywhere. The CCC is focused on mobilising the masses to win Zimbabwe for change in 2023. Anything else is a sideshow.”
A CCC senior member in Chivhu, who said he was not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed the development.
“We received a tip-off from Zanu PF insiders on Thursday that there was a planned protest against Chamisa, whom they thought would visit,” the official said.
“But we are confusing detractors. That is our new strategy. We have realised that Zanu PF has a tendency of disrupting our meetings and we are very cautious of that. We also need to ensure safety, not only of the leadership, but of our supporters because they have been victims.”
A senior Zanu PF official in Chikomba, Rangarirai Matono, who was part of the Zanu PF group, confirmed the planned protests in an interview with NewsDay Weekender.
“I am not very sure why the protests did not succeed,” he said. “I am out of town. I got engaged with another business.”
Chamisa last week advised his supporters to lie low in the face of the escalating violence ahead of the 2023 elections, urging them to adopt what he termed “Operation Mango — green outside and yellow inside”, where they pretend to be Zanu PF supporters in public while remaining opposition at heart.
Since last year, most of Chamisa’s rallies have been violently disrupted by ruling party activists, with his motorcade often attacked.
Last week in Gokwe, Midlands province, scores of opposition supporters and journalists from the private media were severely assaulted at illegal roadblocks mounted by Zanu PF supporters along the Nemangwe-Chitekete Road, where Chamisa was scheduled to address a campaign rally for the party’s Gokwe-Kabuyuni parliamentary candidate Costin Muguti.
The CCC leader had to call off the rally after top Zanu PF officials took over the venue claiming they had booked it for their rally.