MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khuphe, secretary general Douglas Mwonzora and national organiser Abednico Bhebhe were forced to seek refuge in a hut at former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s burial Tuesday as the opposition party’s succession dogfight boiled over.
Khuphe and Mwonzora form part of a faction that is opposed to acting MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa who grabbed power just hours after Tsvangirai was pronounced dead of colon cancer in South Africa.
The attackers pounced on Khuphe the moment she arrived for the burial. As she emerged from her vehicle accompanied by two bodyguards and started walking towards Tsvangirai’s homestead, a menacing mob ran towards her.
The former deputy prime minister ran for dear life towards a neighbouring homestead with the yobs in pursuit. She was later rescued by ZRP details.
Khuphe looked rattled and sobbed throughout the programme while Mwonzora was evidently seething with anger. Bhebhe took charge of the programme as organiser and seemed to have accepted the situation.
Witness narrated a horrifying spectacle as Khuphe and Mwonzora in particular took a barrage of attacks before they sneaked into a hut at one of Tsvangirai’s neighbours.
“The mob of over a hundred people used rocks and sticks to attack them. One woman (Lwazi Sibanda) was hit by an empty beer bottle and had blood.
“They threatened to burn down the hut and threw rocks through a window in a bid to hit Khuphe in particular,” New Zimbabwe heard.
A visit to the hut showed rocks strewn all over the place and tree branches that the mob had wanted to use in lynching the trio.
Mwonzora confirmed they were attacked, accusing Chamisa of having been behind the violence.
“Initially 10 people attacked us, but security overpowered them. They then sought reinforcements and came back numbering way over a 100,” he said.
“They wanted to kill us and were chanting Chamisa’s name. They chanted slogans and derogatory slurs like ‘Khuphe go back to Matabeleland. We will not be led by a woman’.
“But we will not bow down to people who are scared of constitutionalism and the rule of law. We will not give in to lawlessness and thuggery.”
The MDC-T secretary general added that they had not attended the final part of the programme at the cemetery for fear of being attacked again.
“We got intelligence that the group wanted to puncture Khuphe’s car and attack her. So, I helped her out of the dangerous situation. She is shaken but ok,” Mwonzora said.