Infighting rocks MDC-T in Bulawayo Province

BULAWAYO – Infighting has rocked the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change faction in Bulawayo province with the latest beating up of Secretary for Security Alick Gumede and his subsequent suspension.

Gumede was assaulted at the party offices by a group of party youths in the presence of senator Martson Hlalo. Police said they were investigating the matter in which Gumede suffered a broken neck. Party supporters in the Pelandaba Mpopoma constituency and neighbouring areas, blame the party leadership in the province for trying to get rid of people who formed the party structures in Bulawayo.

Gumede said he was attacked after a meeting organised to restructure the party’s security organ in the province and when he objected to some suggestions, everyone in the room ganged up and assaulted him, and later on threw him onto the pavement at night when he was unconscious.

"I was beaten up and left for dead at the party offices. What saddens me is that some people who are now in the forefront were afraid of mobilising poeple for Tsvangirai. Even MP Sandla (Khumalo) never allowed us to hold a meeting at his house saying he was afraid of Zanu PF people, but he is also ganging up against me when all meetings were held at my house from 1999 up until recently and I know he is being influenced by some people from Mzilikazi (where Hlalo is senator))," he said.

MDC supporters spoken to claimed that the party had been infliltrated by Zanu PF people who were buying membership cards so that their children could benefit and get scholarships to study abroad, at the expense of people who have been toiling with the party since its formation.

"Party cards are being sold for R100 and to people who are joining the party now and we know that those people are not MDC at heart. Where were they when we were being beaten up and arrested for supporting Tsvangirai?," said one woman, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

Meanwhile in Chimanimani there have been reports that a Zanu PF party official has been misleading MDC supporters in the area by telling them that Zanu (PF) and the opposition have now merged under the inclusive government.

Addressing villagers who had gathered to receive fertilizer at Biriwiri growth point this week, Mary Gaba, Zanu (PF) losing councillor in last year’s March harmonized elections is said to have told the gathering that under the Global Political Agreement signed by the three political parties, the two MDC political parties had now merged with Zanu (PF).

"Gama was booed and heckled by the villagers when she claimed during the meeting that MDC is now under Zanu (PF). Gaba further claimed that MDC is no longer in existence and urged MDC supporters in the area to join Zanu (PF)," ‘said Samuel Chikangaise an MDC supporter who attended the meeting.

During the meeting, headman Willie Chanhuhwa who is also a well known Zanu (PF) supporter in the area, urged all villagers to support Zanu (PF). " You have heard it from our councillor that MDC is no longer there. All those people who have been supporting this party should now come back home (Zanu (PF)."

The Zanu (PF) Secretary for Legal Affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa has also been accused of misleading the public about the GPA.

Addressing the Masvingo Zanu (PF) political leadership recently, Mnangagwa openly boasted that Zanu (PF) was firmly in control of the government and claimed that MDC were junior partners in government.