BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA A top Zanu PF official, who is also church leader in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Midlands province, says he will never be arrested for threatening to kill opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa and his family.
Abton Mashayanyika, a bishop in the Habbakuk Apostolic Faith Mission church in Mberengwa, threatened to kill Chamisa for challenging Mnangagwa while addressing a Zanu PF local meeting before the video recording went viral on social media.
Police are yet to arrest Mashayanyika or question him over a week after the video on the explicit death threats surfaced.
Yesterday a defiant Mashayanyika told The Standard that he did not have any regrets over his threats, saying he was “too Zanu PF” to be arrested.
“Who will arrest me? Me? I am ready to die for Zanu PF, but that will not stop me from saying ‘down with sell-outs’,” Mashayanyika said.
“That’s politics to say they must be killed.
“If they are opposing Zanu PF they are also saying Zanu PF must be killed. I do not like those people because I am a war collaborator.
“I fought in the liberation war that took over the country from white colonisation. Now some people come and want to give back the country to the whites. We can’t let that happen.”
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Mashayanyika, a bishop in the Habbakuk Apostolic Faith Mission church in Mberengwa, said he identified himself more as a politician than a man of the cloth.
“Yes, I am a bishop but I am more of Zanu PF than I identify myself as a church leader.
“When are the police going to come? I am not afraid of them,” he said.
“I am a Zanu PF member and am not afraid of getting arrested.
“Tell them there in Harare that I am not afraid. I have been a staunch Zanu PF supporter since (Rhodesian prime minister Ian) Smith’s time.
“But I am a war collaborator.
I will not let the country go back to the hands of the whites. We can’t let it go on like that and I still insist that I will continue supporting (President Emmerson) ED Mnangagwa.”
CCC youth communication secretary Stephen Tshuma called for a citizens’ arrest on Mashayanyika.
“It is clear that Zanu PF wants the law unto itself. It is without doubt that at this juncture, citizens of Zimbabwe, Mberengwa in particular, must initiate a citizens’ arrest and handover this criminal and Zanu PF thug into the hands of the police,” Tshuma said.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa were in vain as his number was not reachable.
Zanu PF commissar Michael Bimha professed ignorance about Mashayanyika’s death threats on Chamisa.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Emmanuel Mahoko referred questions to national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi
Nyathi’s phone was unreachable yesterday.
Mashayanyika’s statements have been described as hate speech as tension grows ahead of next year’s elections.
Chamisa survived alleged assassination during his meet the people tours last year.
Police have been accused of selective application of the law as CCC and civil society activists are routinely arrested for mundane crimes or trumped up charges while Mashayanyika, who was caught making deaths on video walks scot-free.