Tsvangirai must end culture of violence

HARARE - On Saturday Morgan Tsvangirai was endorsed as the leader of an MDC Alliance comprising six other political parties in a development lauded as historic by multitudes fed up with President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF rule which they blame for their troubles.

But hardly had the celebrations cooled, did suspected MDC thugs cause mayhem and chaotic scenes at the party’s Bulawayo offices where they engaged in bloodletting violence against their vice president Thokozani Khupe and members of the national and provincial executive who were in the middle of a meeting.

The mind-blowing thuggish and barbaric incident is deplorable and indicative of the culture of violence that has been allowed to reside in the party by its leadership, including Tsvangirai who was allegedly said to have sent the party yobs to beat up the Bulawayo-based officials who did not attend Saturday’s launch of the electoral alliance.

Tsvangirai yesterday failed to convince those who accuse him of shielding thugs at Harvest House, when he tried despairingly to lay the blame on “an invisible hand of the State”, during a hastily arranged press conference which just passed off as a damage limiting exercise.

The truth of the matter is that Tsvangirai wields the power to put an end to harassment of party officials by a “militia” which has been repeatedly fingered in dastard acts against those who hold different views to their president.

History is littered with names of senior MDC officials who were mercilessly beaten up by these thugs, some at the party’s Harvest House headquarters and others, elsewhere.

These include Zimbabwe ambassador to Senegal, Trudy Stevenson, former deputy national treasurer and Energy minister Elton Mangoma, Frank Chamunorwa, Diamond Karanda, Priscilla Mushonga Misihairabwi, Toendepi Shonhe, Chris Dhlamini, Moses Mzila Ndlovu and many others who include journalists from the private and foreign press.

Surely Tsvangirai cannot expect Zimbabweans to think it’s Zanu PF or security agents fomenting violence when history points to his and MDC’s failure to dismantle the infrastructure of violence resident in the party.

It gets worse when senior members of the party such as Chalton Hwende celebrate the mindless bloodletting by the party thugs on Khupe and others.

Hwende condoned the barbaric acts in a tweet which triggered anger from many sections of society.

It is this kind of behaviour which portrays the MDC as a violent and intolerant party.

The irony is that Tsvangirai and the MDC have been victims of state and Zanu PF sponsored violence and yet they mimic these institutions when it is convenient for them to do so.

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