HARARE: MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu says he is quitting the opposition party which has been rocked by violence and a bitter leadership dispute.
The development comes after top party officials were attacked by suspected MDC-T youths at Tuesday’s burial of founding leader Morga Tsvangirai Tuesday.
Zimbabwe’s country’s biggest opposition party was at war over Tsvangirai’s succession with divisions spiking even as the former prime minister fought his last against colon cancer.
The leadership row reached fever pitch even as Tsvangirai was dying at a South African hospital with deputies Nelson Chamisa, Thokozani Khuphe and Elias Mudzuri fighting over who was acting party president.
Chamisa then called a national council meeting which elected him leader as Tsvangirai’s death was announced. His rivals did not attend the meeting.
Gutu had warned, during the bitter public exchanges, that he would make a “big announcement” once the party leader was laid to rest.
The announcement came via Twitter on Wednesday.
“I am not going to continue associating myself with an organisation that advocates for violence and thuggery,” he wrote.
“I am a principled politician and professional. I am not quitting politics. I am going to contest in Harare East constituency in the 2018 elections.”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Violence and thuggery as a tool for political mobilisation is simply not acceptable in my scheme of things.We are supposed to be a political party and not a rag tag armed militia.</p>— Obert Gutu (@GutuObert) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GutuObert/status/966247775561306112?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Asked to confirm he was resigning from the MDC-T, Gutu was non-committal.
“It is basic simple English that does not need serious analysis. You will see in the coming few weeks,” he said.
Tuesday’s burial of Tsvangirai in Buhera was overshadowed by attacks on deputy Khupe and secretary general Douglas Mwonzora who are seen as opposed to Chamisa’s ascendancy to the presidency.
Mwonzora has been insisting that the party’s new leader would be chosen by an elective congress.
Khupe also suffered violence at the hands of party youths in August last year for snubbing the public rally called to announce the MDC Alliance.
The coalition was formed by Tsvangirai in a bid to establish a united front against the ruling Zanu PF party in general elections due this year.
Khupe and her allies in the MDC-T have publicly voiced opposition to the allocation of parliamentary seats to alliance partners and even boycotted recent meetings of the party’s executive council.