HARARE - MDC Budiriro legislator, Costa Machingauta, is battling for his life at a local hospital following a vicious attack by suspected Zanu PF youths in the constituency on Thursday night.
Machingauta who is also a national executive member of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party was allegedly assaulted with a sharp object at Budiriro Shopping Centre for wearing his party T-shirt.
When the Daily News crew visited Machingauta yesterday, the lawmaker had a deep cut on the left cheek and forehead, could hardly talk.
Ironically, the former MDC youth assembly deputy president managed to call this reporter at 00:12am when the assault had begun.
Machingauta is recovering at a private Harare hospital after being attacked by suspected Zanu PF assailants.
“I am burning my friend. They want to kill me can somebody help me,” he called out while voices could be heard in the background shouting “beat him up, kill him it doesn’t matter”.
Upon arrival at the private hospital where he is recovering, the Daily News heard from an eyewitness that the rowdy youths had demanded that Machingauta take-off his T-shirt but he declined.
“He tried to explain that he was an MP but they would not listen. They pushed him to the ground before he was hit by an object that I suspect was a bottle because it was dark and when we tried to help we were also assaulted and we fled.
“The youths also fled after they realised the MP was bleeding profusely and that is when a report was made to the police before a good Samaritan took him to hospital,” said Rodrick Kahuni the MDC chairman for Ward 43.
Kahuni said he identified one Savy Dengedza, a Zanu PF youth who reportedly guards the party office at the shopping centre as one of Machingauta’s assailants.
He claimed that intimidation of MDC supporters had become the order of the day in the constituency blaming it on Godwin Gomwe, the Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairman, who stays in that area.
“They set up torture bases all around the constituency where they have hoisted their party flags. No MDC supporter can pass through those bases safely particularly when one is putting on our party regalia”.
Both Gomwe, and the party’s Harare Province chairman Godwills Masimirembwa were not picking calls when efforts to get a comment from them were made.
Other MDC members who were injured and were seeking treatment at the hospital include Ethel Edward, the party’s district women’s assembly secretary for elections and Handsome Nyoni.
Tsvangirai described the assault on Machingauta as barbaric and expressed concern that Zanu PF had not refrained from its violent ways.
“This is barbaric. We are witnessing the emergence of vigilantes in Budiriro just as we saw similar thugs in Mbare.
“This vindicates our position not to participate in these forthcoming by-elections. Such a toxic environment is totally uncalled for. When you have innocent citizens and an elected MP being viciously assaulted like that, it is cause for concern. I hope Africa and the broader international community are watching,” said Tsvangirai.
The assault followed Tsvangirai’s launch of a No Reforms, No Election campaign in the nearby Glen View South constituency the previous day.