EDITORIAL COMMENT: Violence part of MDC-T DNA

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FOR a very long time, opposition political parties in the country have tried to fool the world into believing that they are victims of some imagined chicanery and political violence.

For a very long time, the MDC-T in particular, has played victim, yet evidence on the ground points to the party being masters and architects of violence. Let us revisit some of the recorded cases of violence by MDC-T party members against each other, and it would not be far-fetched to say that there are a lot of other cases where victims were members of other political parties that went unrecorded.

In September 2001, MDC lawmakers, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, Gabriel Chaibva, Edwin Mushoriwa and Janah Ncube were assaulted while attending a provincial executive meeting in Dzivarasekwa, Harare. In September 2004, MDC youths attacked party director of security Peter Guhu at Harvest House, in September 2004, then Bulilima legislator Moses Mzila Ndlovu was assaulted and in May 2005, Misihairambwi-Mushonga was assaulted again.

In July 2006 then party stalwarts Trudy Stevenson, Linos Mushonga, Simangele Manyere, Tawanda Udzerema and Lackson Mudachira were assaulted in Mabvuku after the split of the MDC because of dictatorship tendencies and in May 2011, Inspector Mutedza was brutally stoned to death at Glev View 3 Shopping Centre by MDC-T members. Tungamirai Madzokere who was then councillor of Glen View Ward 32, Yvonne Musarurwa, then party’s youth deputy secretary and Last Maengahama have since been convicted of murder with actual intent. Other high profile figures like Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma have also been on the receiving end of violence in the opposition camp, until they decided to break ranks and form their own groupings.

And just like week, one of the opposition party’s vice presidents Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe were bashed at the Bulawayo party provincial offices where they were holding a meeting. After that, one of the senior members of the party, Charlton Hwende, appeared to celebrate the violence, claiming their gathering was illegal.

Although MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has tried to paint a picture of a caring father figure and a party opposed to violence, it is clear that violence is part of the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of MDC-T, and we shudder to think what else the country will see as we move closer to the 2018 general elections. Simply put, DNA though a biological term, in this case, would refer to the fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of someone or something, especially when regarded as unchangeable.

If people can travel all the way from Harare to kick fellow party members in Bulawayo, then what else can they do to members of other parties? Who gave them the resources to travel from Harare to Bulawayo and who gave them the backing to attack senior members of the party?

Of course, the MDC-T is a fragile party suffering from lack of leadership and pro-voter ideas, as backed by perennial loses in general elections since their formation, but the history and craving for violence is clear reason that the electorate should continue to shun its leader Tsvangirai, and go further and ignore their aspiring councillors and MPS come 2018.

It has since emerged that those who were bashed last week did not support the coalition pact signed by the opposition leader in Harare last week and investigations by our sister paper, The Herald, corroborated by images posted on social media, showed people who beat up Khupe, Moyo and Bhebhe attended the MDC-Alliance launch where they provided security at the Zimbabwe Grounds. Bhebhe later told the media that the thugs claimed to have been sent by Tsvangirai.

“Yesterday (Sunday) I did not say Tsvangirai sent the youths. I said it was the youths themselves who told us that they were sent by Tsvangirai. I do not know whether they were telling the truth or lying, but that is what they claimed. All I can say at the moment is that I am optimistic that the investigations the party is conducting will come up with results. However, it is also clear that these youths do not have the capacity or resources to hire a car to travel from Harare to Bulawayo. We want to establish the hand behind all this.”