A FIST fight nearly broke out at the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T’s standing committee meeting on Wednesday after two senior officials clashed over management of party affairs ahead of its extraordinary congress.
The meeting was curiously held in Cranborne, Harare instead of the party headquarters in the city centre amid reports that the Khupe camp was afraid of being bashed by youths linked to party interim secretary-general Douglas Mwonwora.
Mwonzora and acting party spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni reportedly engaged in a harsh exchange in the meeting with the former Copac co-chairperson being labelled a dictator worse than the late former President Robert Mugabe and could not even lead a burial society.
Phugeni reportedly accused Mwonzora of sponsoring thuggery in the party and violence against Khupe’s followers.
“Phugeni was angry,” a source who attended the meeting said.
“It was so tense that he told Mwonzora that he is a dictator worse than (MDC Alliance leader) Nelson Chamisa and Mugabe. He even told Mwonzora that he was not fit to be president or chairperson of a burial society.”
The Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House has almost become a no-go area for Khupe loyalists who have been subjected to physical assault by a team of security personnel reportedly linked to Mwonzora.”
Mwonzora is reportedly gunning for the party’s top post and has clashed with those pushing for Khupe.
Party acting chairman Morgen Komichi and Elias Mudzuri are also interested in the position.
Insiders said the Mwonzora-linked militia recently assaulted the party director of treasury, Tod Mapingire who sustained injuries and had to be rushed to hospital.
Phugeni confirmed Mapingire’s assault, adding the matter was now under probe.
“I am not sure what happened, but it is one of the matters that the secretary for security was tasked to investigate and make a follow up. That report has not yet been tabled, so I think he is still busy with his investigations,” he said.
“It’s a very bad development because my understanding is that he had to go and seek medical attention.”
He, however, refused to comment on his said brawl with Mwonzora.
“I have no comment on that matter because I can’t comment on the proceedings of the standing committee. I can’t confirm nor deny anything,” Phugeni said.
He, however, said the reason the meeting had to be held away from the party headquarters was something the party could not immediately divulge.
Mwonzora’s phone was not being answered yesterday.
Mapingire becomes the third victim of violence reported at Harvest House, with two others being Khupe’s security aides who were assaulted in July and denied entrance into the party headquarters.
Sources said issues of violence and blocking other officials from accessing the party headquarters ignited the clash between Mwonzora and Phugeni.
Komichi, however, dismissed the reports saying all was well in the MDC-T.
“Nothing like that happened,” Komichi said.
“The ship is steady and it was a cordial meeting held in a very friendly environment. We chose to have it away from Harvest House because we wanted a workshop like environment,” Komichi said.
However, despite Komichi’s claims, indications that all is not well in the party started at the beginning of the month when Phugeni was involved in a nasty verbal fight with a Mwonzora loyalist, Tapiwa Sengweni, the director of legal affairs in the MDC-T.