Supporters threaten violence

Intra-party violence could once again rear its head in the squabble-ridden MDC following the suspension of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his lieutenants by a rebel group.

Tendai Biti
Tendai Biti

A senior member from the Tsvangirai faction, while briefing his leader who had travelled outside Harare for rallies when the suspension was announced, divulged that hundreds of loyal members said they wanted to mete out mob justice to the rebel faction – with secretary general Tendai Biti being the prime target.

“Our supporters are asking for the addresses of the Renewal Team leadership, particularly Biti. I had a tough time discouraging them, but they insisted that Biti must leave the country if he cares for his life. They want his head,” said the Tsvangirai lieutenant.

Hundreds of party members loyal to Tsvangirai who thronged Harvest House on Sunday during a press conference by the faction, will reportedly bar Biti loyalists from any party functions and disturb any known meetings.

Provincial structures will organise themselves to sniff out those loyal to Biti.

Nelson Chamisa, the Organising Secretary, told The Zimbabwean that “it is a tough time ahead” and expressed dismay at the action by Biti and the rebels.“We were surprised by his (Biti’s) move even though we always suspected that he was up to no good. But he shot himself in the foot. He doesn’t have the people’s support,” said Chamisa.

In a statement issued after the Sunday press conference, the Tsvangirai faction accused Biti and his friends in MDC of illegally registering some party properties in a company they owned.

In turn, Jacob Mafume, the rebels’ spokesperson, accused Tsvangirai and Chamisa of owning shares in Gushungo Holdings, a company owned by President Robert Mugabe.

“These suspended members of the party must be careful not to make defamatory statements against us. After all, their leader and Chamisa own shares in Gushungo Holdings and the world will soon know. Chamisa is dangerous to the party. He is currently studying law through night school and he thinks that makes him a lawyer,” fumed Mafume.

Chamisa dared Mafume to produce evidence that they owned shares in Gushungo Holdings and accused him of being “a kindergarten politician who does not belong to any party structures”.

Douglas Mwonzora, the Tsvangirai faction spokesperson, said: “We will not be going to any court because there is no need to do so. If Biti and his friends want to challenge our legitimacy, they are the ones who should approach the courts.”

“If the Tsvangirai faction thinks we are kidding, it is daydreaming. These guys thought they were smart when they convened an illegal council to suspend Mangoma, and now they are crying foul. They are free to go to court just as did when they suspended Mangoma,” said Mafume.

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