By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
24 January 2013
About 30 rowdy ZANU PF youths Wednesday barged into a US Embassy function in Masvingo, disturbed the proceedings and assaulted one journalist forcing the event to end prematurely, reports said Friday.
A Southern Eye report said the youths, who were apparently drunk, stormed the venue of the US President Barack Obama’s Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders initiative at a local theater. They then mobbed Corra-Leigh Magiya, an embassy official who was speaking at the time, and demanded that Washington lift the targeted sanctions imposed on President Mugabe and his inner circle.
The youths, who outnumbered the invited guests, also shouted their anger at Obama for not inviting Mugabe to the US-Africa Summit in August. This was after reports Wednesday said Mugabe will not be among the 47 leaders to be invited by Obama to a landmark US-Africa summit in August. The summit seeks to widen US trade, development and security ties with Africa to which the US president traces part of his ancestry.
Gang leader Talent Majoni, who is also ZANU PF youth league national deputy commissar, asked why Obama had excluded Mugabe from the August summit. He claimed that the sanctions were hurting the ordinary masses and shouted out saying ‘we do not need your scholarships.’
Ironically, as the youths were railing at the embassy officials over the omission of their leader from the forthcoming event, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was saying the Zimbabwe government was not bothered by it.
As the ZANU PF youths were shouting Magiya frantically tried to explain that she was not the right person to comment on the targeted sanctions issue but her every word was drowned in the din, forcing her to adjourn the meeting.
A year ago, another ZANU PF youth Sheila Mutsenu, confronted US Ambassador Bruce Wharton during his brief tour of the American Corner at the Turner Memorial Library near the Civic Centre in Mutare. Mutsenu took off her clothes leaving her in her undergarments. She further railed against the US targeted sanctions and in the process claimed that they were hurting ordinary people.
Daily News reporter Godfrey Mtimba confirmed the Masvingo incident and narrated his ordeal. He told SW Radio Africa that he was taking pictures at the event when he was pounced upon by the rowdy youths. Mtimba, who is also the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists national executive member, said the youths manhandled him and in the process tore his jacket.
In a related incidence of harassment of journalists, the Media Institute of Southern Africa reports that Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Abedinico Ncube has twice this year threatened Southern Eye correspondent Albert Mazhale over stories the Gwanda-based reporter has written about him.