MDC-T Bulawayo East legislator Thabitha Khumalo yesterday stormed Njube Hall in the city topless after violence erupted at the party’s district rally resulting in her T-shirt being torn apart.
However, she briefly disrupted an address by the party’s vice president Thokozani Khupe, alleging she was undressed by police officers.
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was supposed to address the rally, had returned to Harare in a huff, where MDC-T officials said he had to deal with a crisis at the party’s headquarters.
The streets of Njube turned into a battlefield as MDC-T youths fought among themselves, accusing each other of being “Zanu-PF spies”. Baton-wielding police officers moved in swiftly to restore order.
A number of youths sought refuge at the police station as their colleagues bayed for their blood.
Senior party officials who include national organising secretary Abedinico Bhebhe, national chairperson Lovemore Moyo, and Khupe seemed unmoved when Khumalo, clad in her bra, burst into the hall with a group of youths.
Bhebhe waved an agitated Khumalo aside saying: “We will deal with that later,” as Khupe continued with her address.
Khumalo alleged three other women were stripped naked by what she claimed were Zanu-PF supporters. A number of MDC-T supporters, however, said she gave her T-shirt to one of the women who were allegedly stripped.
Khumalo fumed: “We are talking of Women’s Day and you are undressing women and they are walking stark naked because there are people with an upper hand. I have three women at the police station who had their clothes removed by Zanu-PF supporters.”
In her address Khupe admitted there were divisions in the party. She said power-hungry members would not be tolerated in the party.
“Don’t be power driven, let’s be focused, our aim is to remove Zanu-PF from power. We have some elements in the party who joined the party to get leadership positions.”
“There are also some elements who think they have people here, no one owns anyone in this party, we are here because of you so as from today no-one can come here and say that these are my people,” said Khupe.
She denounced the MDC Veteran Activists Association (VAA) saying it was sowing divisions in the party.
“We are saying to VAA you cannot create structures within the party but you can be an affiliate group to the party , subscribing to the provincial leadership. We are saying to the veterans use your energy to fight for the case that saw the establishment of the party,” said Khupe.
Also present at the rally were national youth chairman Happymore Chidziva, Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo, his deputy Councillor Gift Banda, other councillors and the MDC-T provincial leadership.
Suspended Bulawayo provincial vice chairperson Dorcas Sibanda was conspicuous by her absence at yesterday’s rallies.
Lovemore Moyo said the party was fraught with divisive elements.
“We have heard your cries that there is indiscipline and we have moved forward to ensuring discipline in the party. We want to assure that my office will change things,” he said.
The party officials denounced party legislators Matson Hlalo, Reggie Moyo and Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, who won seats on the MDC-T ticket but later defected to the Renewal team.
The party will belatedly commemorate the International Women’s Day at Stanley Square tomorrow.