By Ndabeni Mlotshwa
Bulawayo — VIOLENT clashes between rival factions of Zimbabwe’s main opposition have left several party supporters injured and hospitalised in the second city of Bulawayo.
This is the latest in a series of intra-party political violence and endless conflict among leaders and supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) since its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, died from colon cancer in South Africa last month.
After violent skirmishes at his recent burial, factions are now fighting for control of the party’s provincial offices in Bulawayo.
Since Sunday, clashes have broken out between supporters of the interim leader, Nelson Chamisa, and Thokozani Khupe, the co-vice president who opposes Chamisa’s endorsement by the party.
MDC, a formidable force since its founding in 1999, is experiencing a leadership battle after Tsvangirai left three deputies.
While Khupe was elected into the position, Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri were appointed by the now-deceased leader.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemned the growing culture of violence by the MDC to resolve and settle political differences.
The lawyers group expressed concern that the lack of decisive and punitive action and sanctions on perpetrators of violence was encouraging repeated incidences and impunity.
“The MDC-T party must embrace a strict, bold and consistent intolerance to any forms of violence and conflict within the opposition political party.”
MDC squabbles are a major concern ahead of general elections later this year.
The party is seen as weakened by the death of Tsvangirai, infighting and the reformation of the ruling ZANU-PF under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.