Home » Governance » Party Clashes Welcome Tsvangirai

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday came face-to-face with the party’s factional wars here when violent clashes erupted between rival factions, forcing the beleaguered party leader to cancel one of his scheduled rallies. The party activists attacked journalists, with members barring reporters from Sunday News and ZTV from covering the two rallies that were addressed by Mr Tsvangirai in Pumula and White City Stadium in Pelandaba.

Some of the youths attacked Chronicle chief photographer Eliah Saushoma and threatened him for taking pictures outside White City Stadium.

Mr Tsvangirai was forced to cancel his third rally scheduled for Luveve, with reports that some youths had been camped at the venue since morning, drinking alcohol and preparing to stage a demonstration against the party’s decision not to participate in the June 10 by-elections.

Mr Tsvangirai was in the city calling on his members to boycott the elections in what he has termed the “no reforms, no elections” slogans.

When our Bulawayo Bureau arrived at the Pumula rally, which itself was poorly attended, youths aligned to the party’s acting provincial chairperson, Ms Dorcas Sibanda, could be heard threatening another group that was said to be belonging to the party’s deputy president, Ms Thokozani Khupe.

The scuffles, which lasted close to 30 minutes, only ended after the “Khupe youths” left in a truck and commuter omnibus headed for White City to lay an “ambush” on the rival faction.

Impeccable party sources told our Bureau reporter that Mr Tsvangirai almost cancelled the White City rally when he was informed that the situation was tense.

“He actually drove past the venue, only returning more than three hours later to make a 10-minute speech. He then decided to cancel the Luveve rally because a demonstration was planned there,” said the source.

In excerpts of his address caught from outside the Pumula rally venue, Mr Tsvangirai blamed the factional wars on provincial party leaders, who he said were not playing their role of uniting the party.

“It is your leaders who are causing all these problems. I must warn them that we will deal with anyone we discover is fanning factionalism because it is not good for the party,” he said.

This news crew managed to sneak into a commuter omnibus (registration number ABN 7150) which was ferrying youths aligned to Ms Sibanda. The minibus was loaded with all sorts of weapons – stones, knobkerries and bottles, with the youths singing songs denigrating the party’s vice-president Ms Thokozani Khupe.

“We are here for business we don’t want people to think they can sell out while we watch. We will deal with them. Who does MaKhupe think she is? We only have one party president and that is the one that we will follow,” one youth was heard saying.

Ms Helen Tshepiso Mpofu, the party’s deputy provincial organising secretary, was heard instructing the youths to keep a close eye on the Khupe faction, telling them to deal with their rivals if need be.

“I am the organising secretary. That is why I am telling you to keep an eye on these sell-outs,” Ms Mpofu was heard saying.

Contacted for comment, the party’s national spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu downplayed the scuffles claiming they were instigated by a few infiltrators who were not members of the party.

“The problem is that we now have a lot of infiltrators in our party who are not genuine party members. Their only aim is to cause alarm and despondency. Anyone who is a true party cadre knows that we are a peace-loving party. We don’t believe in violence and if anyone has a bone to chew with a fellow comrade there are ways of dealing with this,” said Mr Gutu.

Source : The Herald