… faction members assault each other
MASVINGO - It appears factionalism in the province is not peculiar to the ruling Zanu PF party after all, with the main opposition MDC-T busy fighting the same demon within its own ranks.
At a ward rally at Mucheke Hall last week, one Ruth Machipisa earned herself some warm claps after she had expressed her support for former Masvingo Urban legislator Tongai Matutu, a move which enraged fellow party supporters fighting for national executive member Takanayi Mureyi.
Mureyi and Matutu's names have been thrown around in discussions over the most suitable candidate to represent the party in Masvingo Urban constituency in the 2018 elections.
Tensions flared up at the combined ward 1 and ward 2 rally which was supposed to be chaired by Mureyi and provincial chairperson James Gumbi.
Mureyi, however, did not show up as he was said to be engaged in another meeting in Bikita district and Gumbi arrived very late.
The rally was thrown into disarray as people started walking out of the venue when they realised that the guest speakers were no longer coming.
The crowd could be heard chanting pro-Mureyi slogans while denigrating Matutu until Machipisa, who is from ward 4, shouted "Mureyi haapindi". Visibly drunk youths quickly swarmed around her, tossed her around and beat her up.
The youths accused Machipisa of being a Matutu lackey sent to create divisions, shouting that they wanted her to go back and tell Matutu that 'your plan has backfired.'
The youths only backed off after realising that Gumbi, who had just arrived, was still around but this did not stop the 'Mureyi haapindi' shouts.
"It is of no use to fight among ourselves when the real enemy is out there. We should work together and bring unity in the party and make sure that president Tsvangirai wins in 2018.
"People should also mind what they say about their leaders in public. The youth are there to protect the party and instil discipline," Gumbi pleaded with the rowdy youths.
A provincial executive member said the rivalry between Matutu and Mureyi was likely to explode soon since the two were very prominent and powerful people in the party.
"Mureyi splashes money to get acceptance but Matutu is just a people's darling. Mureyi knows he cannot win against Matutu in a fair race hence he is trying to have the entire executive in his pockets so that they can endorse him.
"Right now he is the one financing party programmes but Matutu is more popular with the grass roots," said the provincial executive member.
When contacted for comment Matutu said people should not engage in violent behaviour in his name.
"I'm surprised that people fight in my name yet I haven't made myself available to contest. Violence is bad because it does not set us apart from Zanu PF," Matutu said, adding that he will make a decision on wether to contest the Masvingo Urban seat in due course.
Mureyi too was incensed by the intra-political violence, saying there was no point for fellow party members to fight over anything.
"That kind of immaturity is what's setting our country back and allowing Zanu PF to do as it pleases. Whether I will contest the seat or not is no reason to fight. I don't have a problem with Matutu or anybody for that matter so why would somebody want to fight in my name?" said Mureyi.politics,topnews