Home » Governance » Chamisa Fingered in Mangoma Violence

As the internal turmoil continues to rage on in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), national organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, has been implicated in the violence unleashed on the party’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma mid February at the movement’s headquarters in Harare.

A four-minute, six seconds security video taken during the melee that saw Mangoma beaten up with punches and slaps all over his body by party youths, places Chamisa smack dab in the centre of the incensed crowd, a few minutes before the assault.

Standing amongst the crowd, which was singing and chanting, baying for Mangoma’s blood, snapshots from the video show Chamisa relating to some of the gathered youths. Although in one instance the affable legislator appears with a finger on his lips as if in a silencing shush signal several other scenes show him laughing as if in jest with the gathered crowd, which was itching to have a go at Mangoma.

“Chamisa was there laughing, yet he knew that I was going to be beaten up. And (party president Morgan) Tsvangirai also knew that I was going to be beaten up,” Mangoma told the Financial Gazette. Chamisa yesterday denied any involvement in the assault and accused Mangoma of being on a mudslinging spree.

“I am not the author of what happened to Mangoma. Certainly not. He (Mangoma) should tell us what his role was. He knows the facts. He must tell you the truth. And not this sustained attack on my person,” he said. Chamisa said, if anything, he had actually tried to clear the way and disperse the rowdy crowd.

According to Chamisa, he had been upstairs in the same room with other Standing Committee members, including Mangoma, for a meeting when at the end of it all he went down to try and disperse the madding crowd. There was no way he would be seen laughing over someone’s planned beating, he claimed. “I am a Christian and would not do that,” he said.

Although party national spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, who is the one who ordered that a video be recorded to capture all proceedings, admitted on Tuesday that it was indeed Chamisa in the video, he was quick to dismiss any insinuations that the organising secretary had anything to do with the assault.

“That’s not correct. Chamisa had no motive. He was trying to stop the crowd,” Mwonzora said.

“Does that look like someone who was stopping people?” asked Mangoma. “It looks like someone who is comfortable with what was going on around him. If they claim that Chamisa’s laughter was a way of stopping those youths, then in that case that is a new meaning for laughter.”

Although Mwonzora claims the youths that were captured in the video were not party youths but that they were sent by other parties, Mangoma denies it. “They were all youths from the party. There were no strangers amongst them,” he said.

So far seven youths from the party have been charged with assault in the matter and will appear in court on April 5. Mwonzora is representing the youths on pro bono basis. Although Mangoma is not charging Chamisa with anything – at least not yet – he wants the charged youths to explain what role Chamisa played in the violence that saw the deputy treasurer-general sustaining some injuries and bleeding from the noise. His shirt was torn in the ruckus of the violence and his spectacles broken.

The youths attacked Mangoma and youth leader Promise Mkwananzi just outside the MDC-T Harvest House headquarters. Secretary-general Tendai Biti reportedly escaped the charged mob.

The attack occurred soon after a provincial chairpersons’ meeting chaired by Tsvangirai, just a week after Mangoma had sent a damning letter to the MDC-T leader, suggesting that he consider stepping down.

“It is my humble submission that, at this juncture, it is time you consider leaving the office of the president of the movement,” he said in the fateful letter, which triggered a series of reactions on the part of both Mangoma and party, culminating in the suspension of deputy treasurer-general.

Party youths had gathered outside Harvest House spoiling to beat up Mangoma as a reaction to the letter. Singing and chanting their intentions to beat up the former energy minister in the inclusive government, the youths defied earlier efforts by Tsvangirai and party chairman, Lovemore Moyo, to quiet them down and get them to disperse. Mangoma claims Tsvangirai who had said he would get out of the meeting with him and shield him from the angry mob, suddenly stepped back and disappeared in the few minutes the attack took place, leaving Mangoma alone and exposed.

“He was obviously roundabout there, seeing and hearing the violence. They were part of it,” Mangoma still smarting from the attack said of Tsvangirai and Chamisa. “We will expose violent people in the party. As a party we are against violence. Those people who do not want to follow the MDC and its rules will fall off and be rejected by the people.”

Source : Financial Gazette