Arrest of MDC-T director blamed on infighting

MDC-T Director General, Toendepi Shonhe, was reportedly arrested on Sunday over sensational allegations that he plotted the assassination of Smart Mesa, a member of the party’s security department.


Shonhe was arrested soon after his arrival from South Africa where, according to police, he allegedly fled when the plot was uncovered in January. MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the arrest and said Shonhe is the one who went to the police station after hearing that they were looking for him.

It’s claimed that Shonhe hired three bouncers, identified as Skipper, Tiger and Diva, who were led by Moffat Aliseni, to kill Mesa together with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s personal aide, Dennis Murira. It’s further claimed that another official in the security department, hired to help in the plot, tipped off Mesa.

But members of the party who spoke to SW Radio Africa said there was more to this case than appeared on the surface. It was pointed out that Mesa, the alleged victim of the assassination plot, was in 2009 accused of being a CIO agent by a commission of inquiry into the assault of former MP Trudy Stevenson.

A copy of the report sent to the party hierarchy reads: “Indeed, the Commission’s attention was drawn to one member, Smart Mesa, who in its enquiry appeared to be an informer or an operative of the Central Intelligence Organization. The member stated that he is a retired officer of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

“The Commission believes that he was more than just an officer of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. He has made his way into the Party structures, to the highest levels of the Harare Province Security Department, yet nobody could explain to this Commission how he had gone from being an ordinary member of the security structures for the province, to heading it almost overnight.”

Political commentator Phillan Zamchiya blamed infighting for the whole saga. He told SW Radio Africa: “I think there are deep seated divisions within the party. I don’t know the merits of the charges at the moment but what I can say politically is that there are deep seated divisions within the party.”

“Most of them (divisions) emanate from the pre-congress conflict and it is up to the party at the moment to come up with a clear post congress, conflict management strategy, otherwise these cases will keep on recurring.” Zamchiya said: “Knowing both Shonhe and Murira as democrats” it was difficult to believe they could plot to kill each other.

“It’s quite unfortunate that the aggrieved parties are also rushing to lay charges to the police. It’s their legal right, its their constitutional right but Zimbabwe is an exception in that we all know the police, members of the security and the judiciary are highly partisan and are infiltrated by the intelligence and there is no official of high standing in the MDC who will get a fair trial.”

Zamchiya also had a warning for those in the MDC-T, telling them: “If ZANU PF sees that you are into women, they will corrupt you through women. If they see that you like money, they will corrupt you through money. If they see that you are into plots, they will corrupt you through those plots.

Zamchiya meanwhile has told Tsvangirai, Thokozani Khupe and Tendai Biti, as the top leaders of the party, that they must help in healing the rifts. If they don’t “there will be attempts to manipulate these cases to the advantage of the ZANU PF and to the detriment of the MDC-T” he warned.

– SW Radio Africa News

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