PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa was embarrassed in his Midlands province on Saturday after Zanu PF supporters started walking out in the middle of his speech in what points to a tough battle for the ruling party’s candidate in Wednesday’s elections.
Mnangagwa had invited foreign dignitaries among them former Mozambique President Joachim Chissano and South African ruling party ANC delegation led by Lindiwe Zulu to the rally at Tongogara growth point in Shurugwi.
A video of supporters walking away during the rally has been circulating on social media.
Mnangagwa had to literally beg the people to come back, and the incident has been viewed as having seriously dented his reputation.
“Ndinoda kutaura nevechidiki. Eeeh, ndirikuona murikuda kungofamba-famba imwi, mirai ndipedze kutaura (I want to talk with the youths. I see people roaming around, please let me finish my address,” Mnangagwa said.
This is not the first time Zanu PF supporters have walked away during Mnangagwa’s address.
There was a near stampede in Mutawatawa, Mashonaland East province when supporters walked away during the President’s address.
In Nkayi, Matabeleland North Zanu PF chairperson Richard Moyo threatened to unleash violence on the supporters when they started to walk away while Mnangagwa was still delivering his address.
The supporters said they were afraid of missing buses which had brought them to the venue.
Dozens of supporters were left stranded at the Tongogara High School grounds after missing the buses which had ferried them from different parts of the country.
Some supporters who had travelled from as far as Gokwe and Buhera were still stranded at Tongogara grounds on Saturday evening with no alternative transport back home.
The majority of the stranded supporters claimed that they did not have money to pay for transport to return to their homes.
Some had arrived at the break of dawn and were complaining of hunger.
Zanu PF acting director of information Farai Marapira, however, said the party organised transport for its supporters who had been left behind by buses.
“Everyone was safely taken back to their homes. We provided a sufficient shuttle for all our supporters. It was a matter of confusion by some of our supporters who thought that buses had left them but they later returned and picked everyone,” Marapira said.
“We had an overwhelming support base so we could not manage to ferry everyone at one go. But if you check at the venue right now, it’s empty, there is no one. It’s only cattle and goats grazing because everyone went to their homes.”