By Staff Reporter
THE US embassy in Harare and civic groups in the country have roundly condemned Tuesday’s intra-party violence which saw MDC-T supporters rooting for Nelson Chamisa’s take-over as party leader physically attack party Vice President Thokozani Khuphe (pictured) and secretary general Douglas Mwonzora.
The incident happened during the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral in Buhera.
Khuphe was forced to take refuge in a hut near Tsvangirai’s rural home when the youths threatened to harm him.
Mwonzora was also subjected to an almost similar ordeal over the same ‘offence’.
The two senior MDC-T politicians are strongly opposed to Chamisa’s controversial decision to railroad party loyalists to install him as acting President. They prefer an extra ordinary congress to decide the MDC-T leadership question.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemned the attacks and further called on MDC-T followers to embrace tolerance and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of association.
“ZLHR condemns the use of violence by some MDC-T party supporters to settle political scores,” said the group in a statement on Wednesday.
“Tolerance of differing opinions is a crucial aspect of democracy and employing violent tendencies and actions limits the fundamental right of people to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms of peaceful assembly, association and assembly which are all guaranteed in the Constitution and Zimbabwe’s regional and international human rights obligations and are core values of democracy.”
Similarly, the Zimbabwe Peace Project condemned “all forms of violence especially as the country edges closer to the 2018 elections”.
ZPP urged politicians to rein in their followers who would be committing acts of violence in their name.
The US embassy also condemned the MDC-T violence which it said in a statement that it negated Tsvangirai’s vows to peace.
“We encourage Zimbabweans to move forward together towards elections that are free, fair, transparent and most of all, non-violent,” said the embassy.
Stung by the blame that has been directed at him, Chamisa was Wednesday forced to issue a statement pleading with those who witnessed the attacks to submit evidence that would lead to the arrest of the culprits.
“Completely unacceptable threats of violence against VP Khuphe. Please share videos & pictures to help us identify culprits. The police must apprehend and charge those responsible. We will never accept as comrades those who perpetrate violence in our name,” Chamisa posted on Tweeter.