THE MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe is failing to feed party youths who are guarding its Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters amid further complaints that they are also working without protection against coronavirus (Covid-19).
This comes as the interim leadership of the party has been thrown into fresh turmoil after the youths assaulted Khupe’s aide and some party workers in Harare on Monday.
The over 40 hungry youths, who are allegedly aligned to MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s camp, vented their anger with their leadership by attacking one of Khupe’s aides, Fungai Masaiti, a day after they had also assaulted cleaners who had been sent to tidy the party leader’s office.
Insiders told the Daily News yesterday that when the youths were quizzed over the violence by the party leadership after the matter was brought up in the national standing committee meeting held on Tuesday, they complained that they were hungry.
“The violence issue was mentioned in the standing committee in passing. We then asked the youths what their issue was because we felt they could not have acted in that manner without being sponsored by someone.
“They told us that they were hungry because they are guarding the party headquarters for 24 hours. They complained that they were being fed on bread alone and that at one point they spent three days without food. The youths also complained that they had no sanitisers and that they risked Covid-19 infections,” a standing committee member said.
MDC-T acting spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni told the Daily News yesterday that the food for the youths could only have been stolen as Khupe had made all efforts to ensure they were well fed.
“The president donated a whole beast for them as well as buying mealie-meal, while other leaders have also chipped in with other supplies. So, I don’t understand why they should be complaining about hunger.
“However, the fact that a beast was donated does not mean that it was given directly to them because there are distribution channels and it is that process that could possibly have cracks.
“I will have to check with the head office,” Phugeni said.
The youths are maintaining a 24-hour vigil after Khupe took over the iconic headquarters from her bitter rival Nelson Chamisa recently as the senseless bloodletting that erupted soon after the death of the MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018 continued.
Since then, the MDC has continued to reel from the mortal combat in which Khupe and Chamisa are involved in a hammer and tongs tussle for the control of the party.
It also comes as Khupe has postponed the MDC’s planned and court-directed extra-ordinary congress indefinitely – which was set to be held on Friday next week, citing the ongoing national coronavirus lockdown.
Masaiti was allegedly assaulted by some party youths on Monday at MRT House headquarters.
Earlier on Sunday, the youths had also beaten up some cleaners who had been asked to tidy Khupe’s office.
The youths are allegedly harassing officials suspected to be backing other candidates in the race for the leadership of the party.
“Team Mwonzora is blocking all party members who have shown their support for other leaders from entering Harvest House (MRT).
“On Monday, they attacked a presidential aide, Fatso. On Sunday, they also assaulted some party members who had been sent to clean the president’s (Khupe’s) office.
“This is being done by the youths who took over the national offices from the MDC Alliance,” one of the insiders claimed.
Phugeni admitted that the MDC was grappling with its ongoing internal challenges.
“Violence is a problem we are facing and it is condemned in the strongest terms. I will have to find out about the incidents you are referring to.
“It could have been brought up in the standing committee during the time I was addressing a press conference (on Tuesday),” Phugeni said.
The MDC’s acting chairperson, Morgen Komichi, said the matter would be investigated.
“The matter will be thoroughly investigated and if it is found to be true, those behind the assaults will be brought to book because we want to build a party anchored on constitutionalism and tolerance. We cannot condone violence,” he said.
This comes as the cracks within Khupe’s interim leadership are said to be widening.
All this comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been involved in an ugly brawl for the control of the party ever since the death of Tsvangirai from colon cancer in February 2018.
The fights took a turn for the worse after the Supreme Court upheld an earlier High Court ruling in March, which nullified Chamisa’s hotly-disputed ascendancy to the helm of the MDC following Tsvangirai’s death.
In addition, Khupe has also recalled 21 MPs and senators from Parliament, as she has flexed her muscles in the mindless infighting.