Gweru — THE European Union (EU) has expressed concern over escalating violence within Zimbabwe's main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Since the death of MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai a month ago in neighbouring South Africa, acts of violence, property destruction, harassment, intimidation and threats to human life reigned supreme.
EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme bemoaned the intra party violence within MDC insisting the opposition was increasingly losing credibility in the democratic space, human rights and rule of law.
"Political violence has to be condemned in all circumstances, loudly, clearly and without any reservations. Political violence is totally unacceptable in the democratic debate," Van Damme said.
The bone of contention is succession race among the party's three deputy presidents Nelson Chamisa, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri.
The opposition's national council last week endorsed Chamisa as replacement to Tsvangirai while Khupe argues she was constitutionally elected MDC deputy to the late founding leader insisting she should be the one to takeover.
"They (MDC) have a challenge... ..and they have to address that challenge. We hope this will not degenerate further and see also intra party violence which will have an impact on how elections will be viewed," Van Damme said.
Scores of party activists aligned to Khupe were over weekend assaulted at a meeting in the country's second largest city of Bulawayo by hooligans sympathising with Chamisa while property worth thousands of dollars destroyed.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP have since arrested culprits, among them Bulawayo's deputy mayor Gift Banda, several councillors and rowdy youths.
The country's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been preaching, peace, unity, tolerance and non-violence ahead of elections in order to attain free, fair and credible polls.
Zimbabwe is holding elections in five months' time.