MDC-T deputy treasury-general, Elton Mangoma and secretary-general, Tendai Biti were assaulted yesterday by a group of party youths for allegedly calling for leadership renewal in the party.
BY PATRICE MAKOVA
Biti, Mangoma, youth assembly secretary-general, Promise Mkwananzi and others were attacked when they stepped outside Harvest House soon after party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai had finished holding a one-day meeting with the 210 MDC-T district chairpersons.
Top party executives also attended the meeting.
Mangoma, whose shirt was torn in the melee, was pummelled by a group of over 20 youths. He said he feared he had suffered a broken nose and his glasses were broken.
Biti and Mkwananzi were a bit lucky as they only received a few punches and kicks.
Mangoma said when he was leaving Harvest House, the youths started beating him up for no apparent reason.
“They just shouted that I needed to be beaten up, for what reason, I do not know,” he said. “This is the violence that we have always said we do not tolerate.”
Mangoma said the violence showed that the meeting was just called to “whip up emotions”.
The MDC-T deputy treasurer-general said he was still to decide what action to take, including reporting the matter to the police or instituting internal disciplinary measurers against the culprits.
Biti also confirmed that he was assaulted while leaving Harvest House.
“It was a drunken mob,” he said.
Biti said the meeting with the district chairpersons was “decent” but was later tainted by the violence which broke out outside Harvest House.
“We need to draw a line and take a firm stance, that violence is a non-starter and a no go area,” he said. “We did not create MDC-T so that it can be turned into another Zanu PF.”
Police had to be called to rescue several other officials who were holed up inside Harvest House. These included youth assembly chairperson, Solomon Madzore and his elder brother and Member of Parliament for Glen View, Paul Madzore, Manicaland provincial chairperson, Julius Magarangoma and MPs Prosper Mutseyami and Willas Madzimure.
Tensions had been high through-out the day as scores of drunken youths were baying for Mangoma’s blood, accusing him of trying to oust Tsvangirai from the MDC-T leadership. Biti and Mangoma’s personal drivers were seen parking their vehicles far away from Harvest House, with party officials saying they were afraid of being caught in the crossfire.
The youths were terrorising anyone believed to be sympathetic to Mangoma and Biti. While Tsvangirai was still meeting the 210 district chairpersons, The Standard witnessed at least four youths being assaulted outside Harvest House after they were accused of belonging to the “Mangoma faction.”
Throughout the day no police officers were visible while the youths were fighting each other right in the city centre and just metres away from a police post.
Earlier on at a press conference, party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said the meeting had gone on well with district chairpersons rejecting calls for Tsvangirai to quit the party to pave way for the election of a new leadership.
He said the districts allegedly endorsed Tsvangirai as the MDC-T leader and party candidate for 2018.
Mwonzora said the meeting took note of the fact that Zanu PF and state security agents were taking advantage of the internal democracy in the MDC-T to sow seeds of division within the opposition party.
“To that end, the leadership of the MDC shall as has always been the case, be determined by congress, whether this congress is held in 2016 or earlier if the national council so desires,” he said.
Mwonzora claimed that Zanu PF had infiltrated MDC-T structures and was the one engineering calls for Tsvangirai’s ouster and leadership renewal in the party.
He claimed there were already two line ups of MDC-T officials which were being pushed by Zanu PF for the next opposition party congress.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said his party had its own challenges and had no time and interest to meddle in
“Can they prove it?” he asked. “If they are failing to find a good leader with capacity, they must not blame others.”