by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – PERPETRATORS of the violence that marred the burial of the late former Zimbabwe Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, were allegedly propped by the deceased opposition leader to brutalise opponents of his authoritarian rule, it has emerged.
Youths aligned to one faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ran amok last week at the burial of the party’s leader, molesting co-deputy president Thokozani Khupe, party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe in the eastern Buhera.
Sources told CAJ News the thugs were Tsvangirai’s loyalists he groomed at the party’s Harvest House headquarters in the capital Harare.
Their patronage was allegedly bought with food and other material resources to coerce them to shield Tsvangirai amid calls for him to quit leadership after founding the party in 1999.
Senior party officials have in recent years been assaulted for calling on him (Tsvangirai) to step down.
Following the death of Tsvangirai from colon cancer, the party thugs have switched allegiance to Nelson Chamisa, the acting president of the MDC.
“This is how Tsvangirai behaved secretly, so, it’s not Advocate Chamisa’s fault. He just inherited those thugs from Tsvangrai,” a party official told CAJ News on condition of anonymity.
The source pointed out the then MDC secretary general Tendai Biti, deputy treasury-general Elton Mangoma, youth assembly secretary general Promise
Mkwananzi were among the officials previously assaulted at the MDC head office for calling for leadership renewal.
Former youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, Manicaland provincial chairperson Julius Magarangoma and MPs Prosper Mutseyami and Willas Madzimure have also borne the brunt of the intraparty violence.
Biti quit and formed the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while Mangoma also launched his own called Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe.
Another split is feared in the wake of the violence and factionalism within MDC.
Analysts have warned this could mar the elections set for later this year.
“These thugs are capable of creating the wrong impression Zimbabwe’s elections were violent. They are fueling and instigating brutality and barbarism,” another MDC official said.
A female member of the party said, “Violence is in the DNA of MDC.”
Last Friday, Mwonzora apologised for the thuggery at Tsvangirai’s burial.
The country’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged all political parties to denounce violence ahead of elections.
His Zanu (PF) party has also been blamed for electoral violence when Robert Mugabe was still at the helm.
– CAJ News