By Pamela Shumba
The Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe yesterday condemned political violence within the MDC-T party calling for tolerance among members of the opposition. More than 15 people were injured in Bulawayo on Sunday when rival factions clashed at the party offices.
The party has been divided along factional lines, pitting the party’s deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe and president Mr Nelson Chamisa.
“The Embassy of Canada in Zimbabwe condemns all forms of politically motivated violence. We encourage all actors to engage peacefully and demonstrate both respect and restraint in their conduct,” said the Embassy in a statement.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Zanu-PF Mazowe South legislator Cde Fortune Chasi also condemned the MDC-T.
“It would be extremely remiss of this House for it not to abhor the treatment that was given to some of the leaders of the opposition, in particular, Dr Khupe.
“This is pre-election violence and we must make reference to it and abhor it. It doesn’t matter who is causing the violence,” said Cde Chasi.
“The country is going towards an important election and as in the past, the violence that took place in Bulawayo must be condemned.”
Twelve people, including Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda and Ward 1 councillor Mlandu Ncube, appeared in court on Wednesday in connection with the Sunday violence.
The Sunday violence came less than a month after the death of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose burial was characterised by ugly scenes, with rowdy party youths attacking Dr Khupe and the party’s secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
Other opposition parties, local civil society groups, the police, Zanu-PF and war veterans have condemned the intra-party violence in the MDC-T, saying the growing culture of settling misunderstandings through physical means has no place in modern day democracy.
The European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Philippe Van Damme, also condemned the intra party violence within the MDC-T, saying the party was losing credibility as a political movement.