Picture: Jonisayi Maromo

Pretoria – Officials at the Zimbabwe’s embassy in Pretoria were taken to task on Thursday by protesting members of a new party, Zimbabwe People First, which was recently formed by sacked deputy president of that country, Joice Mujuru.

The protesters were demanding the right to vote in Zimbabwe polls from South Africa, where they reside.

Insults were hurled at the embassy’s minister counsellor, Simon Chisorochengwe, who came out to receive the protesters memorandum. He was closely guarded by members of the South African Police Service.

The protesters, wearing white People First T-shirts, became agitated when Chisorochengwe told them that Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa Isaac Moyo was not available.

The protesters then asked Chisorochengwe to explain what his title “minister counsellor” means.

Chisorochengwe told retorted: “Take time to read the Vienna Convention”.

His remarks drew and angry response.

“This is not Vienna, you old man. We don’t read Vienna Conventions, which do not help us. Just tell us what is your job in there,” shouted one protester, who only identified himself as Thomas.

Interim convener of People First in South Africa Lawrence Mavhaire weighed in: “This is the problem with our Zimbabwean government. We are asking you to introduce yourself and you tell us about Vienna. How is that going to help us?”

As the shouting intensified Chisorochengwe retreated into the safety of high security gates of the embassy.

“We will shut this embassy,” shouted a protester.

Before long the protesters started chanting “Chisoro must fall”.

When Chisorochengwe eventually returned to the high security gates, Mavhaire said he would only hand him the memorandum if he came outside the secure enclosure. He later handed the memorandum over.

Mujuru was booted from both Zanu PF party and the Zimbabwe government in December 2014 at the sixth Zanu PF congress.

She was sacked after a spirited attack by First Lady Grace Mugabe during her Meet the People Tour rallies who alleged Mujuru was planning to assassinate Mugabe.

After keeping Zimbabweans guessing over her next move, she went on to launch the Zimbabwe People First movement with other former Zanu PF heavyweights who had been ousted.

Mujuru has said her People First would give the vote to millions of Zimbabweans based outside the country.

She also said her party would repeal the controversial Public Order and Security Act, realign the Criminal Code Codification and Reform Act, ensure the Electoral Act would fully comply with the county’s constitutional provisions and requirements.

Mujuru said People First would respect property rights through addressing historical compulsory acquisition by way of compensation.

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