In-fighting hurts MDC

pedzisai_ruhanyaTsvangirai must stamp out violence now - observers
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's civil society allies have condemned escalating internal violence in the lead-up to the MDCs congress as fresh clashes erupt between rival factions. (Pictured: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairman Pedzi

Civic society leaders said they were “deeply saddened” by the fierce in-fighting triggered by the looming congress.

Nelson Chamisa’s interest in the national organising secretary post, currently held by Elias Mudzuri, has provoked a fresh round of violence, prompting a tussle among their supporters at Harvest House over the weekend.

Journalist-cum-human rights researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said Tsvangirai must demand an immediate end to the attacks on rival factions.

He said it was shocking the MDC had been tainted by allegations of violence, corruption and nepotism.

Mudzuri last week said the party was moving to stem the violence, but his involvement in the violence comes after he was fired from cabinet by Tsvangirai.

The loss of the organising secretary post could spell the end of his political career.

Ruhanya said just like the Zanu (PF) elite, the “democratic elite” in the MDC were showing their political values and culture differed little from their political foe.

“Apart from the Mashonaland West provincial congress where the leadership there was elected in a decent manner, the majority of the MDC electoral processes and gatherings were marked by acts of violence, alleged vote rigging and vote buying,” Ruhanya said.

“The emergence of a fine thread of violence in the MDC has been going on for some time and this has led to both de facto and de jure impunity in the party. The partys disciplinary machinery has been rendered impotent because people who commit acts of violence and other violations of the MDC constitution do it at the behest of members of the powerful standing committee of the party.”

University of Zimbabwe law professor Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly said he was concerned with what he has witnessed in “the people’s alternative to Zanu (PF), the MDC-T.”

“The kind of violence we are witnessing in the on-going provincial congresses is an aberration to democratic practice,” Madhuku said.

Another rights activist, who declined to be named because of his closeness to the MDC leader, said Tsvangirai’s actions and words in the coming days would be critical to the future of his party.

“The party needs a message of reconciliation, they need a leadership that can bring peace and put the party back on tracks,” he said.

Ruhanya drew comparisons with Zanu (PF) tribalism, citing the case of Paul Mangwana who was hounded out of Mashonaland West by Zanu (PF) politicians and relocated to his home district of

Chivi in Masvingo where he was elected MP in the 2008 elections.

“The creation of the vigilante group, Hunters, in Manicaland, is similar to Zanu (PF)’s vigilante groups such as Chipangano in Mbare and Top Six in Mashonaland West,” Ruhanya said.

“By failing to address these cases of impunity, violence and tribalism, the MDC leadership is failing the nation by mimicking Zanu (PF)’s political culture that many Zimbabweans and most of its

supporters are fighting against.

Others lost their lives attempting to create a society opposite to that established by the Zanu (PF) dictatorship.”

Ruhanya said the party leadership was sending a message that theirs is a struggle for power and not necessarily a democratic struggle “because all the incidences described are inimical to the values of a liberal democracy that Zimbabweans want to establish.”

This culture gives an impression that the party is attempting to create a pseudo democracy that serves the interests of the ‘democratic elite’ in the MDC.”

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