MUTARE — Violence broke out among MDC-T members in Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency on Thursday evening in Mutare ahead of a confirmation exercise today, leaving one of the party’s councillors seriously injured.
REPORT BY OBEY MANAYITI
The constituency is currently represented by National Housing and Social Amenities minister, Giles Mutsekwa who, if not confirmed, will square-off with prominent lawyer and human rights campaigner, Arnold Tsunga.
Mutare city councillor, Chris-pen Dube was left with loose front teeth and several injuries following a fierce fighting among the MDC-T supporters.
Police picked up the party’s organising secretary for the constituency, Kingstone Mutandi over the fracas.
Dube told The Standard that he was badly assaulted in full view of Mutsekwa at Mega Watt building, where the verification was taking place.
He said a misunderstanding was sparked following a failed verification process of the constituency’s Electoral College.
Dube accused those in Mutsekwa’s camp of trying to manipulate the list of those who will vote today.
“Mutsekwa came in the company of his youths at Mega Watt where I was with Tsunga. I had the impression that they were going to assault Tsunga and that is when I tried to restrain them and I was badly assaulted,” said Dube.
He added that he went to seek medication at a local clinic where his teeth were wired.
Dube said his assailants had resorted to violence because they lost touch with the grassroots.
Mutsekwa denied being involved in the fracas, describing the matter as a mudslinging campaign.
“Those guys are trying to tarnish my image ahead of my confirmation. This is a sign of desperation. They are really struggling to get support,” said Mutsekwa.
“They abducted Happymore Chidziwa who was sent by the national leadership to conduct a verification exercise of the Electoral College. Mutandi and others went there to release Chidziwa and Dube became physical against Mutandi,” he said.
Mutandi is expected to appear in court soon.
The party’s national organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa dispelled reports that they are suspending the confirmation exercise because of violence.
“We don’t know about that,” said Chamisa. “The whole programme is going ahead and we don’t have problems.”
MDC-T will be conducting primary elections in 26 constituencies in Manicaland province and already campaigns have started, as members fight to represent the party in the forthcoming harmonised elections.
The confirmation exercise is a litmus test for many sitting MPs, who are facing stiff competition from other members to represent the party in the upcoming elections.