THERE was drama at SAPES Trust Tuesday when a group of suspected Zanu PF activists tried to disrupt MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti’s State of The Economy address at the event.
The group members are well known for belonging to Citizens Forum, a lobby group linked to the ruling party.
SAPES Trust is a forum run by local academic Ibbo Mandaza and often brings together members of the intelligentsia, diplomats, politicians, opinion-makers, and civil society activists for dialogue on topical issues.
Biti, an ardent Zanu PF critic, was invited as a guest speaker Tuesday.
But the rowdy group members did not want to hear him say a word as they went on to accuse him of calling for US and EU sanctions on the country.
Some two minutes into his address, one of the members heckled Biti, asking him why he called for the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
One of the members was holding a placard written “ZIDERA Singing for Your Supper”.
“I am a citizen of Zimbabwe and I want to know why Biti called for the imposition of sanctions,” shouted one of the activists.
“He is also talking about a coup in which he partook.”
The heckler insisted that he had a right to grill Biti on matters relating to the country.
“I have a legal right to ask questions. This my country. I have the legal right to ask Mr Biti,” he said.
During that moment, Biti had to ask for protection from his party’s security.
“Can I be protected,” he Biti.
The MDC Alliance security personnel later pulled the activists out of the room while they kept on protesting and demanding to be answered.
After a five-minute scuffle, Biti later continued with his address as it turned out the activists had underestimated security during the MDC Alliance VP’s address.
The rowdy group members later watched the proceedings through the French door and during Biti’s question and answer session, one shivering activist stammered to ask his question on sanctions which he seemed to have been reading from a WhatsApp message.
This is the second time the same activists disrupted an address at SAPES Trust with impunity.
They did the same early this year when they stopped the launch of exiled former information minister Jonathan Moyo’s book – Excelgate – which is an attempt by the ex-Zanu PF politburo member to expose how Mnangagwa and the military top brass rigged the 2018 national elections.
The group also chased away President Emmerson Mnangagwa critic Shingi Munyeza who was a guest of honour at an event at Media centre. – Newzim