20 February 2018
The Zimbabwe Peace Project condemns intra-party violence recorded in Buhera at the funeral of their late leader Morgan Tsvangirai. It is reported that Deputy President Thokozani Khupe and Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora had to be given police protection after pro-Nelson Chamisa supporters attempted to harm the two. In a telephone conversation Mwonzora confirmed the incident and said it was an attempt to mar the burial of their late leader
For some time now the MDC-T has been embroiled in intra-party conflict concerning the MDC Alliance and most recently about who is supposed to takeover after the death of leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The point of departure has been whether the party should proceed to Congress to elect a new leader or go by the decision of the national council which appointed Chamisa acting President soon after Tsvangirai’s death. Khupe and Mwonzora have been insisting that due process should be followed. They are calling for a congress that will give MDC leaders a fresh mandate. They allege that there are some elements within the party who are trying to avoid the congress.
The contestations have led to hate speech and even violence in some areas such as in Kadoma Ward 7 where two supporters of the MDC-T are reported to have been injured. Those opposed to Chamisa have subsequently been booed at recent party gatherings and the latest incident shows that the situation has boiled over. ZPP is concerned that unless the tensions within the party are handled properly and those crossing the line reigned in, there is high likelihood violence within the party could escalate as calls for congress grow louder.
ZPP condemns all forms of violence especially as the country edges closer to the 2018 elections. Political party leaders must demonstrate political tolerance and reign in their supporters who are perpetrating violent acts in their names. Leaders must ensure that power contestations are resolved amicably without resorting to violence. ZPP urges the leaders in the MDC-T to take decisive action in a deliberate bid to ensure that political violence does not mar the 2018 elections.
ZPP is also sad to hear about the disruption of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) meeting in Bulawayo today. ZPP is of the view that the NPRC and citizens should find each other in these critical consultations through constructive dialogue. The NPRC which kick started provincial consultations on February 19 still has several provinces to engage.
ZPP is a Non Governmental Organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.
If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers
+263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417
Toll Free: 080 80199