MDC youths lead witch hunt

Morgan Tsvangirai’s loyalists in the MDC are conducting a purge to rid the party of members backing Elton Mangoma’s call for a new leader.

MDC-T youth leader James Chidhakwa.
MDC-T youth leader James Chidhakwa.

Information gathered by The Zimbabwean shows some members of the party’s youth assembly at the forefront of manoeuvres to remove those perceived to be loyal to the party’s deputy treasurer-general.

A Harare-based party activist told The Zimbabwean that the youth assembly in the province had held meetings to expose those they suspected of being aligned to Mangoma.

In Hatfield, a youth activist was made to stand in front of everyone at the meeting and publicly declare allegiance to either Tsvangirai or Mangoma, a source said.

“It was made clear that those in the renewal team faced expulsion from the party,” he said. “These are now dangerous times for anyone known to be an associate of Mangoma.

According to another source, some party members had to leave Tsvangirai’s Glen Norah rally after they were threatened with a beating.

Harare province spokesman Obert Gutu stressed that Harare youths were behind Tsvangirai and described dissenting voices in the party as “a tiny, miserable minority”.

According to the sources there have already been changes in Mbare and Highfield, where district chairs sympathetic to Mangoma have been removed.

National Youth Assembly deputy organising secretary Happymore Chidziva refuted the allegations.

“It is not a crime to call for leadership renewal. We have openly said that the issue can be discussed,” Chidziva said.

However the displaced Mbare district youth assembly chair, Alex Nyamande, maintained that a purge was underway in the party. “This is a national crisis for the MDC,” Nyamande said. “Unfortunately, the president has now also become a factional leader.”

In Matabeleland South the party provincial leadership is currently investigating how its youth assembly came to pass a vote of no confidence against the province’s chair Watchy Sibanda. Sibanda was accused of working with Mangoma to oust Tsvangirai.

In Masvingo, party youths were accused of seizing a vehicle from provincial youth chair Oliver Chirume and provincial administrator AlecTabe, also suspected to be part of the renewal team.

The Matabeleland North provincial executive led by Sengezo Tshabanguwas recently broke up over the same issue.

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