The MDC-T has moved to distance itself from Sunday skirmishes in Bulawayo that saw the assault of its Deputy President Thokozani Khuphe and some party regional leaders opposed to the party joining a multi-party opposition alliance.
In a statement, MDC-T national spokesperson Obert Gutu said the embarrassing incident could be the works of state agents out to throw spanners in the wake of a coalition arrangement fronted by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Khuphe and other heavyweights such as party national chair Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe did not attend a coalition launch rally in Harare on Saturday, leaving their commitment to the process in question.
And in comments directed at party dissenters, Tsvangirai on Saturday had harsh words for “selfish” lieutenants he said were putting the security of their positions ahead of the interests of a majority that longed to see the end of Zanu PF rule.
But as fate would have it, Khuphe and her allies were attacked during a hastily arranged regional meeting at the party’s provincial headquarters in Bulawayo Sunday morning.
Moyo and Bhebhe were also part of the controversial meeting.
The incident ignited angry reactions by Zimbabweans through social media with many accusing Tsvangirai of hiring thugs to attack party dissenters.
This sent MDC-T into damage control mode, with Gutu assuring all and sundry the party would do all it could to get to the bottom of the potentially embarrassing development.
Gutu said the cited events were “most regrettable and extremely unfortunate”.
“The MDC would like to condemn, in the strongest terms, all forms of violence against anyone,” said the MDC-T spokesperson, adding that his party was “democratic and peace-loving”.
“The violent incident that took place at our party offices in Bulawayo will be thoroughly investigated and indeed, the office of the Arbiter-General of the party, is already seized with this matter.
“We shall leave no stone unturned in ascertaining the exact cause of the unfortunate incident of senseless violence that led to the injury of several party members as well as destruction of party property.
“The perpetrators of this heinous act of wanton violence and thuggery will be identified and punished in accordance with the tenets of the party disciplinary code of conduct.”
Gutu said the assailants could be hired thugs who may not be genuine party loyalists as he reiterated the party would open a “thorough” investigation into matter.
He also said this could be the works of central intelligence organisation (CIO) operatives and other enemies intent on destroying the opposition coalition following its launch on Saturday.
“As such,” he added, “the beleaguered and faction-infested Zanu PF regime will do everything possible to try to collapse the grand political coalition against the insipidly corrupt and sickeningly voracious dictatorship that is fronted by Robert Mugabe.”
Tsvangirai is under fire for mimicking President Mugabe’s regime through visiting violence on those expressing opposing views.
Former party loyalists Trudy Stevenson and Elton Mangoma are some of those who have been bashed by alleged Tsvangirai youths for the same crimes.