Buhera — THE burial of former Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai degenerated into a violent fracas with factions of his party openly engaging in scuffles in front of local and international dignitaries.
It brought to the fore the divisions within the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the battle to succeed the opposition leader who died in South Africa last week after battling colon cancer.
Youths aligned to Nelson Chamisa, one of the three deputy presidents, who has claimed leadership, unleashed violence against co-deputy president Thokozani Khupe and party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora at the burial in the eastern Buhera.
A woman’s leader of the party suffered injuries.
The officials under siege from rampaging youth were rescued after police intervened.
Chairperson of the ruling Zanu-PF, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, was also a victim of the abuse by MDC supporters who jeered her.
Ironically, the skirmishes came at a time President Emmerson Mnangagwa preaches peace ahead of elections set for later this year.
MDC has for years alleged violence by supporters of the ruling party but have in recent years experienced intraparty conflict.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) denounced the violence at Tsvangirai’s burial.
“ZPP condemns any forms of violence especially as the country edges closer to elections,” the rights group stated.
Nyaradzai Manyika said such incidents must be monitored ahead of polls.
“The opposition’s thuggish, provocative, bully and selfish interests should not be left go unchecked,” Manyika said.
Joseph Chamunorwa bemoaned the prevalence of violence in the country’s politics.
“The lowest common denominator of Zimbabwean politicians is their thirst for power. They do not care about the methods they use to obtain power,” Chamunorwa said.
Kumbirai Shoriwa projected bloody elections amid divisions in the MDC.
“If what happened in Buhera (at the burial of Tsvangirai) is anything to go by, I smell bloodshed in the elections.”
Chamisa condemned the violence.