via Zanu PF activists storm MDC-T rally – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 5, 2014 by Moses Matenga
SUSPECTED Zanu PF supporters yesterday stormed an MDC-T rally addressed by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Epworth near Harare, and indiscriminately threw missiles at the opposition party supporters, leaving 14 of them seriously injured.
The incident happened soon after Tsvangirai had finished his speech and left the venue.
The skirmishes, which lasted about five minutes, stopped after riot police intervened and threw teargas canisters to disperse the crowd as MDC-T activists fought back to defend their territory.
“Zanu PF brought people after the singing of the national anthem and prayer, they started attacking people. Our youths did what they could for their safety instead of retaliating,” MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa told NewsDay last night.
“The police had to use teargas, but the problem is they denied us the chance to conduct our meeting at our usual venue which is questionable. The police denied us to use the initial traditional venue PaDombo. Several people were beaten up; a lot of senior citizens were beaten up. Zanu PF’s DNA is violence. They believe in throwing stones.”
However, Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tadius Chibanda said he was not aware of the skirmishes and promised to check with his colleagues in Epworth. Efforts to reach him later were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
In his address, which came following fierce boardroom fights leading to the expulsion of several senior party officials among them secretary-general Tendai Biti, Tsvangirai said the axed party members would not match his political clout describing them as “a bunch of disgruntled activists who stood for nothing but malice”.
“It’s a coalition of people motivated by malice, jealous and hatred and will never succeed,” Tsvangirai said.
“We want to focus on fighting (Zanu PF leader President Robert) Mugabe, the crisis in the country is political not economic and if we address that, there will be an economic boom in this country. That can only be achieved if we win a war against Mugabe.”
Tsvangirai said the action the MDC-T was considering to take would ensure Mugabe lost his stranglehold on power.
“We said we don’t want any war to remove Mugabe, but the action people will take will make him leave. The Constitution allows us to demonstrate, to take action and to mobilise people and put pressure on Zanu PF,” he added.
The former Premier said the MDC-T had an eight -point plan starting with calling Mugabe to the negotiating table first.
“We are saying everyone including the churches, civic society, let’s craft a way forward, let’s agree that Mugabe should rest. I asked him during the Government of National Unity on why he couldn’t go and rest. His answer was the party will collapse without him,” the MDC-T leader said.
Tsvangirai warned civil servants that with the way the Zanu PF government had mismanaged the economy, chances were high that they might end up not receiving their monthly salaries.
“(Finance minister Patrick) Chinamasa has moved salary dates two times. Look now, next month and other coming months, I don’t think they will get paid. No one including the Chinese wanted to give Zanu PF money because they are crooks,” Tsvangirai said.
Speaking at the same event, MDC-T deputy chairman Morgen Komichi claimed Biti had deliberately stalled efforts to increase civil servants’ salaries during his tenure as Finance minister in the inclusive government.
But, contacted for comment, spokesperson for the breakaway group Jacob Mafume dismissed Tsvangirai’s claims.
“He (Tsvangirai) has been at the helm of the party for 15 years and says it’s halftime, so he expected to rule for another 15 years. We don’t believe in leaders who cling on to power,” Mafume said.
“Leadership should mean something to Zimbabweans who need change and jobs with a new government which he has failed to deliver. We are not fighting him, but he is in full combat attacking us. We stand for renewal not only in MDC-T, but in the country to remove people who have dominated politics in the last years.”
Meanwhile, a group of MDC-T supporters loyal to Tsvangirai yesterday said it had repelled attempts by the Biti faction to take over the party’s Mashonaland West provincial offices.