Zimbabwe: Gutu Quits 'Violent' MDC-T

22 February 2018

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu has quit the party which has been rocked by violence and heated leadership disputes following the death of its leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Gutu's decision comes after the party's deputy president Dr Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary Mr Abednigo Bhebhe were beaten up during the burial of Mr Tsvangirai in Buhera on Tuesday by acting president Mr Nelson Chamisa's backers.

Dr Khupe, Mr Chamisa and fellow party deputy president Engineer Elias Mudzuri were involved in bitter leadership tussles in days before Mr Tsvangirai died.

Soon after the death of Mr Tsvangirai, Mr Chamisa convened a national council meeting where he was appointed acting president although his rivals snubbed the meeting. Writing on his Twitter handle yesterday, Mr Gutu said he was quitting due to violence in the party.

"BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I'm not going to continue associating myself with an organisation that advocates for violence and thuggery. I'm a principled politician and professional. I'm NOT quitting politics. I'm going to contest in Harare East constituency in the 2018 elections," he said.

He added: "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."

Rowdy youths that attacked Dr Khupe and Mr Mwonzora during Mr Tsvangirai's burial had to be dispersed by police after they threatened to burn down a hut the two had sought refuge in. Meanwhile, MDC-T has launched investigations into the attack.

In a statement, the party's presidential spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka said: "Acting president Chamisa said violence was never the character of the MDC and any party cadre who engages in violence will face the full wrath of the party and the law. He said notwithstanding the circumstances, there was no need for violence against the party leaders.

"Acting president has ordered the security and intelligence department of the party to investigate the violence and harassment of the senior members of the party and submit a report to him in the next 24 hours," Mr Tamborinyoka said.

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