MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khuphe has pointed an accusing finger at rival Nelson Chamisa for the violence which rocked Bulawayo Sunday at the opposition party’s offices.
The former deputy prime minister told South African broadcaster SABC that individuals scared of a congress were behind the violence.
“We had a meeting at the Bulawayo offices attended by all our structures. Some thugs then came with stones and attacked us leaving 10 people hospitalised,” she said.
“Some have been stitched up while others are still being observed at a private hospital. The attackers are members of our party from the youth and main wings.”
She added: “It is a sad reality that some of our party members have resorted to violence for the love of power.
“They have deviated from the character and culture of the MDC which is to be a non-violent social democratic party.”
Khuphe insisted that she is still the legitimate leader of the MDC-T, dismissing Chamisa’s claims that the party’s national council had installed him as substantive party boss.
“We have argued that those who want to lead must subject themselves to a congress. They have refused because they know they will lose and that is why they are resorting to violence.
“But we will not be deterred. If anything, this has emboldened us because our people have said we must not back down. We will fight and show them that the people are on our side. We will fight and win this election.
“We are the true MDC which does not discriminate.”
Khuphe has received public support from suspended party spokesperson, Obert Gutu, who scoffed at reports he had been removed from his position.
“I have not been suspended; as you can see, I am here in my official capacity as MDC-T spokesperson. That was a bogus national council meeting with no power to suspend me.
“If anything, I have not received any letter from those people,” he said referring to a meeting of the national council chaired by Chamisa.
The meeting that resolved to suspend Gutu and give a week’s ultimatum to Khuphe and other leaders such as national chairman Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe to come to the fold or risk expulsion.
Chamisa has denied he is behind the violence but recognizes a paramilitary group in the party known as the Vanguard which is blamed for the bloody attacks.