POLITICAL parties and civic society organisations in Matabeleland have blasted rowdy MDC-T activists, who allegedly physically assaulted the party’s vice-president, Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe at the burial of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Buhera on Wednesday.
The trio and Chamisa are locked in in a vicious fight to succeed Tsvangirai.
Khupe, Mwonzora and Bhebhe reportedly sought refuge at Maxwell Hapanyengwi’s homestead as over 150 MDC-T youths bayed for their blood.
The youths were reportedly chanting slurs such as: “Khupe go back to Matabeleland. We will not be led by a woman.”
“Some people have to learn it the hard way. They did the same to Welshman Ncube sometime ago and maybe they are yet to repeat it again since he has gone to them thinking they have repented, these people never repent,” Mthwakazi Republic activist, Hlonipani Ncube said.
“Why do our people subject themselves to be used like a chewing gum. It’s clear Khupe has been used and she is no longer needed. They are now bringing Ncube to lure the gullible people of Matabeleland.”
Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo condemned the attack.
“A lesson is that those that are previous beneficiaries of violence have now become victims, thus, it’s a lesson that we must all the times condemn it as it comes to haunt in future.”
The Zimbabwe Peace Project also condemned the intra-party violence.
Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said the attack was testimony to how tribalism was entrenched in MDC-T.
“It’s a cancer that (former President Robert) Mugabe and Zanu-PF infected our society with and MDC-T, just like any other offspring, is taking after the father. They are simple tribalists,” he said.
“Also, this speaks to the issue of succession, which Tsvangirai failed to handle properly, while still alive. Instead of approaching it soberly, he gave in to the tribalistic temptation and became a divisive leader, cherry picking those from his tribe to usurp political functions of a democratically elected Khupe.’
Zipra Veterans Association secretary-general, Petros Sibanda said although he did not condone violence, Khupe was a beneficiary of MDC-T violence in 2005.
“But violence cannot be condoned especially when there are tribal undertones. Khupe is nationally right, but politically fighting a losing battle, she will die for nothing,” he said. Interim MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa told VOA that the violence was unacceptable and it would be dealt with, although he claimed the instigators could be provocateurs deployed to cause noise.