Harvest of blows at Harvest House
Hebert Zharare and Zvamaida Murwira—
MDC-T’s ongoing purge of officials opposed to party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai again turned nasty yesterday as violence broke out at Harvest House in a meeting called to suspend Chitungwiza provincial chairperson and Zengeza East National Assembly legislator, Mr Alexio Musundire.
Sources say provincial secretary Mr Chari Parirenyatwa and party youths were shoved, punched and kicked by hooligans at MDC-T’s headquarters in Harare.
“Chari was eventually consoled by Tsvangirai’s aides who took him to his car. The aides had driven to Harvest House to stop the meeting, probably to allow all these issues to be addressed at (today’s) extraordinary national executive council meeting that has been called. No agenda has been furnished to us as members,” said a source.
Last week, MDC-T Harare North youth secretary for information Ms Angela Hwanyanya was allegedly attacked at Harvest House by drunk party youths.
Before that, deputy treasurer Mr Elton Mangoma and youth leader Mr Promise Mkwanazi were also allegedly assaulted in Mr Tsvangirai’s presence. Secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti and Solomon Madzore narrowly escaped that attack.
The purge of the ranks has seen two distinct camps emerging amid indications the beleaguered opposition is headed for a split.
Suspensions of provincial leaders opposed to Mr Tsvangirai are understood to have been halted following realisation that the purge is depleting the executive.
Some officials in Chitungwiza called yesterday’s meeting to dissolve the Musundire-led executive and install party secretary for mines Mr Fortune Mangwiro in his stead.
The meeting was aborted when violence erupted.
Party executives in Matabeleland North and South, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Masvingo Mashonaland West and Manicaland have either been suspended or are facing the chop.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora denied there was violence at yesterday’s meeting.
“The meeting of the provincial executive of Chitungwiza was ordered to be conducted on Friday instead of today. This is because the organising secretary (Mr Nelson Chamisa) and the organising committee had not been informed of the meeting as was required by the regulations.
“It is not true that the MDC is purging anybody. All those individuals where a vote of no-confidence has been passed are being reviewed by leadership on a case-by-case basis,” said Mr Mwonzora.
“All those affected people are urged to approach the organising secretary who is going to bring this issue to the national standing committee and the national executive.”
Last week officials in Harare ousted chairperson Mr Paul Madzore and installed Highfield MP Mr Eric Murai as interim chair.
The anti-Tsvangirai lobby is understood to be led by Mr Biti, Mr Mangoma, former organising secretary Engineer Elias Mudzuri, and Mr Madzore among others.
Those fighting in Mr Tsvangirai’s corner are said to be party vice president Ms Tokhozani Khupe, national chair Mr Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Mr Morgan Komichi, Mr Chamisa, Harare Central MP Mr Murisi Zwizwayi and director of elections Mr Morgan Femayi.
The source said Mr Tsvangirai’s opponents could not understand why he was clinging to power after losing six consecutive elections to President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Sources said the anti-Tsvangirai group was canvassing for support at the grassroots, going around the country explaining why there was need for a change of the guard.
Mr Tsvangirai too is on a national tour to convince members to retain him.
“There are no new ideas that Tsvangirai will bring and that is why the people are saying let’s come up with new ideas. It’s unfortunate that Tsvangirai has forgotten that Chamisa was the first person to tell the American Ambassador that Tsvangirai is weak and cannot lead. During our primaries Chamisa helped some candidates to rig, leading to our defeat,” an anti-Tsvangirai official from Matabeleland South said yesterday.
Mr Mwonzora said the camps existed in the minds of MDC-T’s enemies, while insisting Mr Tsvangirai was firmly in charge.