The Zimbabwe Peace Project strongly condemns incidents of intra-party violence reported at the MDC-T Bulawayo offices over the weekend. The violence comes three months before the elections and a week after violence rocked the same party in Buhera at the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Several people were injured, among them Dr Thokozani Khupe’s personal aide Witness Dube. Property including several vehicles and one belonging to Dr Khupe were also damaged in the fracas. Anti-riot police had to be called to restore order although no arrests were made. The same office has been the subject of similar violence in August last year when a meeting was disrupted and left a trail of damages and injuries as blood splattered the floors.
The different factions within the party have traded accusations as to who was responsible for the violence. Organising Secretary Abednico Bhebhe has disputed allegations that he started the violence as he insists he was inside the building conducting a meeting when stones started being hurled from outside the building. The party youths suspected of perpetrating the violence are said to have been bussed from Harare. Some party officials including Gift Banda have also been implicated as being behind the violence.
Following ugly scenes of violence at Humanikwa village in Buhera during the burial of the late MDC-T leader, the party has committed to investigate violence. Spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka speaking after the violence in Buhera said the “Acting president has ordered the security and intelligence department of the party to investigate the violence and harassment of the senior members of the party and submit a report to him in the next 24 hours.”
Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora said he had neither been interviewed by the said investigating and intelligence team nor appraised on the existence of the report. Mwonzora questioned why arrests had not been made and accused the state of sponsoring the violence and taking sides in the violence.
Violence has been a common occurrence in the MDC-T since contradictions about the political alliance with other opposition political parties was mooted last year. The succession disputes over who would succeed the late Tsvangirai escalated the situation and the violence over the weekend reveals that things may get out of control if perpetrators and those funding the violence are not reined in. The party has a moral duty as well as a legal duty according to the dictates of the Electoral Act to take measures to ensure peaceful elections.
The ZPP is disheartened by seemingly token and lip service to fighting the scourge of violence in political parties. ZPP urges political parties to take measures to prevent violence in their parties as required by the Electoral Act. The perpetrators of the violence as long as they are left not to account for their actions will continue to perpetrate acts of violence. Where people’s lives and property are at risk the police is implored to take action to deal with the violence in the MDC-T or any other political party for that matter. ZPP is also aware of the existence of a militia group the “Order of the Vanguard” which seems to continue to be mentioned in the perpetration of cases of violence that have torn the party apart. The MDC-T leadership is implored to revisit the existence of this group and their usefulness.
Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project