THE fight for control of the MDC took a nasty twist on Sunday night after a car belonging to a member of the Dr Thokozani Khupe-led faction was allegedly petrol-bombed.
This comes as Khupe was declared the interim leader of the MDC after the Supreme Court ruled that the MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa violated the party constitution when he rose to the presidency in the aftermath of Morgan Tsvangirai’s death in 2018.
The Supreme Court ruling effectively put control of the MDC and all its properties, including the party headquarters Harvest House, in the hands of Dr Khupe.
Apart from losing Harvest House, Mr Chamisa, who now leads the MDC-Alliance, has seen his power base both in Parliament and in local authorities being eroded as MPs and councillors start to line behind Khupe for fear of being victimised.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed that they were investigating a possible case of arson involving rival political camps.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms that we have received a report from Gilbert Bwende concerning an incident in the ZRP Milton policing area and we are conducting investigations,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr Gilbert Bwende, who is rooting for the Khupe faction in the raging MDCs battles for dominance, said he has been accused by shadowy figures of “sponsoring rebels” such as Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
Mr Bwende, said when he retired to bed in Belvedere on Sunday night, all was apparently well. However, before he could fall asleep an explosion that was accompanied by a huge fireball pierced the night’s silence.
“Initially I thought it was an electric fault, but upon further investigations I realised that the car was on fire, my neighbours came and assisted me to put out the fire. I then went and reported the matter to Milton Police after suspecting that it could have been a petrol bomb,” said Mr Bwende.
The targeting of Mr Bwende’s house also comes at a time when senior MDC officials, namely the party national chairperson Morgen Komichi and secretary-general, who were both reinstated to their 2014 positions by the Supreme Court have warned of the growing threat of violence from their rivals.
Mr Mwonzora yesterday said despite the numerous threats hanging over their heads from shadowy groups such as the so-called Vanguard, they would continue preparing to have an extraordinary congress in July as has been ordered by the Supreme Court.
“There are threats against our leadership, some are sending text messages using foreign numbers. We are being branded rebels, but we actually know the true rebels, those who are supporting Mr Chamisa are the rebels. We are not fazed by the threats because they are just threats, however, we are treating the bombing of Bwende’s house seriously,” said Mwonzora.
Since its formation in 1999, the MDC has been characterised by violence that usually accompany acrimonious splits.