At least four people were seriously injured at Morgan Tsvangirai House, the MDC-Alliance headquarters in Harare, in ugly intra-party violence pitting supporters aligned to leader Mr Nelson Chamisa and those linked to former secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora on Saturday.
Property worth thousands of dollars, including a vehicle belonging to Mr Mwonzora, was damaged.
The violence took place while the party’s Standing Committee, chaired by Mr Chamisa, was holding a meeting at the headquarters.
Sources within the party yesterday said the fight erupted after supporters aligned to Mr Mwonzora came to the head office after they got wind that youths sympathetic to Mr Chamisa wanted to stop the former secretary-general from attending the crucial meeting.
Mr Mwonzora has been in the eye of a storm within the party for his outspokenness and calling for an extraordinary congress to select new leadership after the High Court nullified the appointment of Mr Chamisa and Engineer Elias Mudzuri as co-vice presidents three years ago.
This follows an application by the party’s Gokwe district organising secretary, Mr Elias Mashavire, challenging the decision by the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to unilaterally hand-pick his “blue-eyed boys” to the lofty positions ahead of others in the contest to succeed him.
Since then, Mr Mwonzora has been accused of working with former vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe, who is now leading another splinter party — MDC-T.
At least three party activists and a passer-by were left injured at Harvest House and filed reports of assault with the police.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the skirmishes and said investigations were in progress.
“We have received reports on intra-party political violence at Harvest House on Saturday. Youths aligned to different factions clashed and left some injured. We have four people who have filed reports of assault including a passer-by who was caught in the crossfire,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“We have one Bernard Nyaika, aged 35, who made a report of assault. Other people who filed reports are Neighbour Login Masale and one Blessed Mushonga, and a passer-by who was caught in the crossfire. As police we are carrying out thorough investigations to establish what took place on the day in question.”
Party deputy spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka was not available, while Mr Mwonzora promised to call back but had not done so at the time of going to print.
Last week, Mr Mwonzora launched a scathing attack on the party leadership accusing them of paying youths to issue “irresponsible statements”.
Meanwhile, MDC-Alliance Bulawayo province has been rocked by fresh chaos over the co-option of some members into the provincial executive, reports our Bulawayo Bureau.
The resolution to co-opt members into the province was made after MDC-A leader Mr Nelson Chamisa buckled to pressure to include members who lost at the provincial congress in May ahead of the party’s main congress in Gweru in June.
Mr Chamisa was dragged into the fiasco with accusations that he had sided with the group comprised of present provincial chairperson Mr James Sithole at the expense of members from his deputy Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC party that was dissolved and merged with MDC-Alliance.
Sources said the Bulawayo Provincial Administrative Council, popularly known as PAC, met in Bulawayo on Tuesday where they fiercely disagreed on the co-option of more members into the women’s wing.
The sources said the wing’s chairperson, Ms Luba Masotsha — believed to be an ally of Prof Ncube — proposed to incorporate more members outside the stipulated 10 that was agreed on by the party.
“The party resolved to incorporate 10 members in each of the wings to accommodate members who lost at the provincial congress. Masotsha wanted to go further and incorporate 18 more members and put her people in the top five positions of the province,” said a party source.
The suggestion by the women’s wing chairperson was resisted by Mr Sithole and deputy Mr Felix Mhaka.
“Mhaka warned Masotsha against doing things that would come back to haunt her as her actions were unconstitutional while Sithole supported his deputy arguing that the women’s wing chairperson’s moves were illegal,” said the source.
It was revealed that the opposition to the incorporation runs deeper than claims of constitutionalism as there were factional fights with tribal undertones in the province.