Civil society denounces MDC violence

HARARE - Civic groups and politicians have launched a withering attack on the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai whose party supporters assaulted senior members at the party’s headquarters at the weekend.

A group of drunken thugs assaulted the party’s deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma and Youth Assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi in view of Tsvangirai at the end of a meeting at Harvest House, the MDC headquarters.

The party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti was kicked around but most of the blows were taken by Tsvangirai’s bodyguards who had provided a shield from the violent youths.

Youth leader Solomon Madzore remained holed up in the building as the thugs bayed for his blood.

Mangoma has openly challenged the leadership of Tsvangirai and is supported by other senior party officials — including exiled Roy Bennett and Ian Kay — who feel the former trade union leader has lost his sparkle and cannot win an election.

Saturday’s violence was the latest of many acts of thuggery and barbaric attacks on MDC officials by violent youths.

“Violence is a method of the weak and the wicked that has no space in a civilised society more in a political party like the MDC which purports to be democratic. The thread of violence is now well established in the MDC and the MDC leadership should stand firm and address it,” said London-based Pedzisayi Ruhanya.

“This is no longer a time to pay lip service. In a situation where top officials of the party such as Biti and Mangoma are assaulted, it means that no one is safe and I challenge the MDC president to exercise good leadership and stop the rot.”

Mangoma and former organising secretary Elias Mudzuri who is touted as a potential successor to Tsvangirai, have come under severe criticism from the ex-premier’s supporters and sympathisers in the private media.

Tsvangirai performed dismally in the July 31 election in which the MDC was trounced by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF amid strong allegations of rigging.

Mugabe, has poured scorn on the rigging allegations, insisting he won cleanly and squarely.

Neutrals accuse Tsvangirai of having sullied his name by being engaged in love and sex scandals which left him embarrassed.

Against this background, those who want Tsvangirai to step down as the party’s leader, feel Mangoma’s calls are justified “since he is merely restating what is already known in the public domain”.

Dewa Mavhinga, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson and senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch has strongly condemned the use of violence as a tool to settle political differences.

“As civil society and human rights defenders we strongly condemn the use of violence in pursuit of any cause including in expressing or settling political differences. The MDC leadership must take drastic measures to bring the perpetrators of this shameful violence to book and to send a clear message to everyone that violence will not be tolerated.

“This is not the first time violence has broken out in the party, this time we expect a very public process of discipline to nip this practice in the bud and prevent impunity,” Mavhinga told the Daily News.

Ruhanya added: “The criminal elements including their patrons should be disciplined if the MDC want to maintain the political moral high ground as a peaceful and democratic movement different from Zanu PF.”

“If the MDC leadership fails or refuses to address this apparent organised thread of violence; it can’t convince the public that it’s an alternative to Zanu PF. People can really call it MDC-PF.”

MDC Harare province spokesman Obert Gutu, who is thought to be against hurried leadership change in the party appeared taken aback by the violence.

“We should all of us promote unity of purpose and appreciate the fact that the real struggle is against an uncaring, corrupt, misguided and archaic kleptocratic dictatorship,” he wrote on his Facebook wall.

“The MDC-T is a party of excellence and not a party of violence and thuggery. We are the political party of choice in Zimbabwe and we represent the future of this mighty nation. We should remain united, resolute and unwavering in our peaceful and democratic struggle against the corrupt, violent and brutal Zanu PF dictatorship.”

Mangoma was attacked as he emerged from the party’s headquarters despite having been given a “shield” by Tsvangirai.

He blamed Tsvangirai for the violence.

“But once we emerged from the building, I realised that Tsvangirai was, somehow, no longer by my side.

“I was then attacked while he watched and he certainly did nothing to discourage the mob. My sense was that he had prior knowledge that there would be violence”, he said.

Biti told the Daily News yesterday that the MDC’s struggle was fast losing value.

“In a democratic party, people should have their differences but those differences should be contained, should be used as the means of generating positive energy and should be used as a means for uniting the party,” he said.

“But whatever those differences we simply cannot have violence. It’s regrettable that a movement that some of us are prepared to die for is morphisising into something much, much, worse than Zanu PF.”

Comments (10)

This is a clear demonstration that MDC was never going to rule under the leadership of Morgan who went into a deal with zanu(pf) to destroy the peoples party for his personal aggrandisement including a package which includes hordes of zanu(pf) women.

Beyond - 17 February 2014

After the twin barrelled gaffes of VP Mrs Mujuru and that of Tsvangirayi I have come to one conclusion..Contrary to what many believed that the malaise lay in the water we drink I must humbly disagree, There is no water in the taps so it can only be in the AIR we breathe. Where are the advisors to these two greats when disaster is threatening to swallow these two FAMOUS citizens whole? The damage they have done to their causes though not irreparable they have set for themselves some really onerous tasks to get themselves into the good graces of their constituents. Their fortunes appear mortally wounded presently.

gutter poet - 17 February 2014

Did Welshman not cite this (violence) as one of the reasons his faction could not re-engage with MDC-T?

JUZ - 17 February 2014

If zimbabweans do not like violence they could have voted zanu pf out longtime ago . Violence while is not good at all but is a formular of winning elections in zim and zanu has benefited from it hence it is still in power today . Come next elections violence is zanu ' s truimphy card, So leave mdc alone they will sort out their problems they have capable leaders.

Dibulaanyika - 17 February 2014

For Sale ;(1) VW amarok 2010 model twin cab full house .Mag wheels,roll bar,Nudge bar,Milage 34 712 km .(2) toyota Hilux D4D pick up (2,5) ,44070 km milage ,2011 model.with tinted window canopy .S.A assembly. (3) Nissan truck CPB12 .1990 model .drop sides . contact Claudie 0772 831 511

claudie - 17 February 2014

The country needs leaders who are driven by the desire to serve the country and not to be served by the country; leaders who know when to pass the baton on. This will only happen when Zimbabweans learn to be objective when assessing situations. Surely we can't continue to support blindly this is about sacred lives!

Jose - 18 February 2014

MDC-T is now history.

Skim - 18 February 2014

kikiki, maitori serious nekutsigira Tsvancry, munoziva chiGoblin here?

reason - 18 February 2014

Mtshaza wako iwe Craudie kutengesa mota panyaya yekurohwa kwa Mangoma na Biti. Please Mangoma go on fighting that fool he must go even violently!

Mbokyo - 18 February 2014

Some guys never cease to amaze me . You keep flogong a lossing horse that will never win . Nown that horse has stray into the crowd and trempling everyone including the handlers ,grooms,track stewards , panters ahh murikungoriona zmowe zhowe racho .

Mose Ruddolf ( Hitler) - 18 February 2014

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