MDC-T acting President Nelson Chamisa has disowned activists who attacked Vice President Thokozani Khuphe at late party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s burial in Buhera on Tuesday.
In widely condemned scenes blamed on overzealous party followers rooting for a Chamisa takeover from Tsvangirai, Khuphe was forced to seek refuge in a hut with MDC-T fanatics in hot pursuit.
The incident happened just as she was walking, along with other party leaders to a gathering which was the last of Tsvangirai’s funeral wake in the late former Prime Minister’s rural home.
The MDC-T followers, according to witnesses, labelled the former deputy prime minister a “dissident”.
This followed Khuphe’s unwavering opposition to what she terms a coup by Chamisa, who has apparently railroaded party organs to install him as party acting President for the next one year.
Khuphe and her allies are adamant no one should install themselves as party leader as all leadership hopefuls should subject themselves to an extra-ordinary party congress which should decide Tsvangirai’s successor.
MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora was quick to blame Chamisa for Tuesday’s violent scenes.
Mwonzora, who was also roughed up by party fanatics, attributed Khuphe’s attack to tribalism and sexism by people opposed to Ndebeles and women politicians taking over the country’s most popular opposition.
But in attempts to absolve himself from the violence, Chamisa, on Wednesday, pledged to cooperate with his fellow comrades in clamping down on the culprits as he implored those who witnessed the skirmishes to present evidence which could lead to the arrest of individuals involved.
“Completely unacceptable threats of violence against VP Khuphe; please share videos & pictures to help us identify culprits. The police must apprehend and charge those responsible. We will never accept as comrades those who perpetrate violence in our name,” Chamisa posted on Tweeter.
It is not the first time Khuphe has been attacked for taking an opposing stance against party decisions.
The Bulawayo legislator was, in August last year, attacked together with party national chair Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe after they had convened a provincial meeting which sought to oppose a party decision to form an opposition loose merger with other opposition against Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai was blamed for the violent conduct which he denied sanctioning.