Tsvangirai suspends five over Byo violence

By Blessings Mashaya | Daily News |

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday suspended five members over the violence which occurred at the party’s Bulawayo provincial offices on Sunday which left his deputy Thokozani Khupe and other high-ranking officials nursing wounds.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai

Among those hit with suspensions is disgraced deputy treasurer-general Chalton Hwende who celebrated the attacks on Khupe and senior officials who included chairman Lovemore Moyo and national organising secretary Abednigo Bhebhe.

MDC national deputy secretary for information Thabitha Khumalo and three members of the youth assembly were not spared either.

“The president has suspended the party’s deputy treasurer-general Mr Charlton Hwende and deputy secretary for information and publicity, honourable Thabitha Khumalo, pending full investigations, for suspected crimes of omission and commission before and during the disturbances,” Tamborinyoka said in a statement.

While Khumalo was unreachable for comment, Hwende was suspended for posting offensive remarks on micro blogging site, Twitter where he justified the barbaric attacks.

“Organising a caucus meeting which is against the spirit of the MDC constitution is very irresponsible you end up attracting unnecessary problems. The youths are angry and impatient, anyone who will stand in the way of change will have no one to blame. We are tired. We want change,” he tweeted.

Hwende made a u-turn after he came under fire for his tweet and posted an apology on his facebook page.

“I have now realised that my post yesterday has been interpreted to mean that I condone the violence that happened at our offices yesterday.

“This is not correct. I condemn the violence that happened. I have now reflected on the post and acknowledge that it was wrong and I would like to apologise to Hon Thokozani Khupe,” Hwende said.

Apart from suspending the five senior officials, Tsvangirai has dispatched a team of investigators to Bulawayo as he bids to heal the rift caused by the violence.

“President Tsvangirai has already dispatched a probe team to Bulawayo and a full comprehensive investigation will determine any further action to be taken.

“Violence is not part of the culture of the party and president Tsvangirai, a victim of violence himself countless times since the party was formed, has moved in to take decisive action over the matter,” said Tamborinyoka.

Addressing a press conference in Harare on Monday, Tsvangirai delivered a strong warning to his party members over the violence which analysts warned could further strain relations with his colleagues in the Matabeleland region.

Tsvangirai was accused by both Khupe and Bhebhe of having bussed the thugs from the party’s headquarters.

On Monday, he denied this during his press conference.

“The MDC is a social democratic party whose values include equality, solidarity and the respect of human rights. As such, I unreservedly condemn the violence that happened yesterday, the 6th of August 2017, in Bulawayo where a group of thugs violently disrupted a meeting at our Bulawayo offices.

“As the president of the party, I condemn in the strongest terms this callous act of violence committed by these people.

“I understand there are a few culprits who were apprehended by the police and as the leader of the party, I regard this incident as a criminal act and these thugs must face the full wrath of the law. I have since activated our own internal investigations and appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken against the perpetrators or anyone behind them,” Tsvangirai said.