Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa lunged at a female British MP on Monday, but Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the UK, Gabriel Machinga, saved the day by moving in to separate the two.
The incident happened at a Foreign Office reception, welcoming a ministerial delegation from Zimbabwe, and left guests stunned.
Chinamasa had to be held back by Machinga from causing harm to Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxall in London. Nobody knows exactly what triggered the fight, but sources told SW Radio Africa that the incident happened as soon as Hoey went over to greet Chinamasa.
'They had barely exchanged pleasantries when Chinamasa raised his voice and charged at Hoey accusing her of 'speaking like an imperialist.' Ambassador Machinga quickly moved in and separated them,' a source said.
Hoey confirmed the incident to SW Radio Africa saying 'the Minister of Justice's behaviour was entirely in keeping with what I would expect from ZANU PF.'
After Machinga intervened, Chinamasa walked away and the Ambassador remained with Hoey, apologizing profusely on behalf of the Justice Minister. After the confrontation both Hoey and Chinamasa proceeded to the welcoming reception hosted by Mark Simmonds, a Conservative MP who is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the FCO.
Chinamasa is part of a three member ministerial team currently visiting the UK . It was invited by the international Friends of Zimbabwe group. The other two ministers in London are Elton Mangoma from the MDC-T and Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga from the small MDC formation.
The trio has since Monday been engaging international donor countries with the aim of discussing a range of issues relating to the upcoming harmonized elections.