10 April 2013

Zimbabwe: Police Hunt Fugitive MDC-T Official

POLICE have launched a manhunt for a senior MDC-T official and Sanyati businessman who allegedly assaulted the district youth secretary for information and publicity as party violence continues to rock the party.

Norbert Whozhele owns Machapaza Bottle Store where the victim Patson Katazo and his colleague Admire Machapaza where drinking beer discussing their party issues.

National police spokesperson Superintendent Paul Nyathi on Tuesday confirmed the incident and said investigations were still in progress.

He said Whozhele's whereabouts were still unknown and police were keen to question him in connection with the incident.

"We confirm receiving a report of assault following an incident on intra-party violence by MDC-T supporters in Sanyati," he said.

According to the police, the party's leadership in Sanyati on Thursday produced a list of candidates who had qualified to contest party primaries starting on April 20 countrywide.

According to reports, the party's deputy national chairman and aspiring candidate for Sanyati Mr Morgan Komichi would stand uncontested.

The move reportedly irked some party supporters aligned to Sanyati district treasurer Mr Exavier Edziwa who was also an aspiring candidate for Sanyati.

Last Saturday, it is alleged that Katazo and Machapaza who are believed to be aligned to Mr Komichi faction went to the bottle store where they started discussing party issues and candidates who had been selected for the primary elections while drinking beer.

This did not go down well with Whozhele who is aligned to Mr Edziwa's faction and he confronted the two alleging that Mr Komichi had facilitated Mr Edziwa's disqualification.

According to police reports, Whozhele slapped Katazo on the left cheek before tripping him to the ground.

He reportedly fled the scene after the assault.

Katazo reported the crime to the police.

"We want to warn anyone who engages in any form of violence that the law will take its course irrespective of whether it is an intra-party or inter-party incident," Supt Nyathi said.

This is not the first time that intra-party violence has gripped the MDC-T party.

Last month, MDC-T co-ordinator for policy and research Mr Fortune Gwaze was assaulted at the party's headquarters at Harvest House by rogue party youths.

The youths accused Mr Gwaze, who works at the party offices, of being a Zanu-PF spy.

On March 9, a group of MDC-T supporters accosted a Murehwa District Council official Moses Gwashure accusing him of pulling down the party's posters.

The youths were coming from a meeting addressed by MDC-T deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada.

Other cases of violence were recorded in Zaka East on March 10 when MDC-T held a rally at Zibhowa Business Centre.

Ten MDC-T supporters recently appeared before Zvishavane magistrate Peter Tomupei Madhibha facing charges of public violence which left several people seriously injured and hospitalised.

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