EDITORIAL COMMENT: MDC-T culture of violence barbaric

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: MDC-T culture of violence barbaric | Herald (Opinion)

ONCE again, the opposition MDC-T is in the news for the wrong reasons, having lately descended into violent chaos linked to internal succession in the wake of the demise of party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai last month. The issue of succession could have been put to bed with the recent installation of Mr Nelson Chamisa as the interim leader of the MDC and the eponymous alliance.

However, because of the underlying issues and the glaringly less than clinical way in which the succession has been handled, the rippling violence throws valuable insights into the historical fact and evolution of the MDC as a violent entity that must now be watched keenly and objectively by everybody with a stake in Zimbabwe.

Mr Chamisa has just inherited a violent organisation whose previous leader cemented his place at the helm — all 18 years — against internal rivals through deploying violence on opponents.

Mr Tsvangirai, in cases that have been well documented, used violence against the likes of Mr Gibson Sibanda, Professor Welshman Ncube, Mrs Trudy Stevenson and Mr Elton Mangoma.

Under Mr Tsvangirai, Harvest House, the party headquarters along Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare now set to be renamed after him, became a virtual hard-hat area, a citadel of violence.
That has not changed.

Mr Chamisa is copying and pasting his former boss’ modus operandi.
He will argue that he has not instructed anyone to beat up and brutalise opponents, but we know better and we know who benefits from the skulduggery that we are witnessing.
He hopes to pummel his opponents into submission.

Dr Khupe has remained adamant that she will not endorse Chamisa’s power grab.
For her troubles, she has been brutalised by a group of Chamisa loyalists and not just once.
At the funeral of Mr Tsvangirai a fortnight ago, she was attacked by a mob who went further to threaten to burn a hut where she had sought refuge in, alongside Mr Douglas Mwonzora and Abednico Bhebhe.

A fortnight after the incident, Dr Khupe’s team was attacked in Bulawayo at the weekend and we saw shocking pictures of bloodied, brutalised victims while property was also destroyed.
Interestingly, it was a replay of violence that took place at the same Bulawayo offices last year.

The issue of control of party offices, those citadels of violence, is clear enough.
It has a huge symbolic value than the mere administrative function of a glass and mortar building. Thus, it can be established that the MDC-T has a well established culture of violence, this puts the party’s pretences at democracy and constitutionalism to shame.

It is surprising that people like Prof Ncube and Mr Tendai Biti, who previously left the MDC fleeing dictatorship and violence under Mr Tsvangirai appear to be cosying up with Mr Chamisa in the alliance.

It must also now seize the nation to interrogate an outfit called “Vanguard” — that shady organisation that likes to pose as a security arm and dresses in red, white and black fatigues that are fashioned after the regalia of uniformed forces.

For all that is known, the MDC-T ‘Vanguard’ operates as a militia, and constitutes close security to the leader of the party,  including mounting a faux guard of honour at events.
In other times, these are the goons that control party offices and structures.

Mr Chamisa knows about this shady outfit and its characters — just as was the case under his predecessor when inquiries were undertaken and found out about violent elements.
Only nothing happened.

We suspect that the impunity is going to go unchecked under Mr Chamisa despite ostensible noises and token measures to stem violence.

It would seem the MDC-T cannot survive without anyone controlling the violent component.
A key insight from this is that MDC won’t have any scruples deploying violence against external competition, and this is worrying as the country heads for harmonised elections in a few months.

Such violence can be used not only to try to foist certain political choices on the electorate, but also to discredit the whole process.

The MDC, fractured and ill-prepared, will have lots of reasons to seek to subvert the process.

That, taken as a whole, presents a present and continuing threat that the nation and other stakeholders will need to watch warily and deal with decisively.


  • comment-avatar
    Ndebele 2 years ago

    Fantastic Zanu propaganda. Let us keep this in context. 20 000 civilians murdered in a genocide by the Zanu Mugabe Fifth Brigade under the current Minister of Agriculture and Vice President. Now all smiles with the British? Nice one The Zanu Herald. How many girls did the Fifth Brigade rape?