Friday, March 12, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE) ZINASU fingers MDC over violent attacks

ZINASU fingers MDC over violent attacks
11/03/2010 00:00:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party has been accusing of exhibiting “behaviour typical of, if not worse than Zanu PF” after four student leaders needed hospital treatment following a brutal assault by alleged MDC youths at a rally last Saturday.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union said its president Tafadzwa Mugwadi, secretary general Kurayi Hoyi, its secretary for legal affairs Archieford Mudzengi and treasurer Tafadzwa Kutya were victims of “rampant beating ... by a group of MDC youths who were clearly mobilised by individuals working in the Prime Minister's office, in an apparently rehearsed incident”.

The National Constitutional Assembly also weighed in, condemning what it described as “barbaric and sadistic behaviour especially coming from the MDC, a key ally in the pro-democracy movement”, and claimed the attacks “happened in the full glare of the MDC leadership including its president, Morgan Tsvangirai.”

The NCA and ZINASU said the attacks took place at a public memorial for Tsvangirai’s late wife, Susan, at the Glamis Stadium in Harare. Nelson Chamisa, the MDC’s spokesman, said the party was unaware of the alleged attacks but promised an “urgent enquiry”.

He said: “I can confirm I was there at the stadium, but I did not see anybody being assaulted. There was no contestation of any kind, we were remembering a national heroine, so I don’t see any reason why people will go all the way to beat up anybody which is against the philosophy of the MDC.

“The MDC is a party of doves, we believe in peace. If we are associated with violence, it is only as victims.

"But if it is true, which I doubt, that some among us have turned from victims into perpetrators, that’s not only tragic but unfortunate.”

ZINASU fingered three top officials in Tsvangirai’s office as responsible for the attacks – his chief of staff Ian Makone, his director for public affairs Dennis Murira and top aide Jacob Mafume.

The students’ union said: “If the MDC is declaring war on ZINASU, they should come out clear and ZINASU is ready for the fight to protect the legacy and the broader student fraternity aspirations of Zimbabwe.

“These attacks on student leaders by these hired-misguided MDC thugs have happened in the past and have gone unattended to by the party leadership.

“These and many other deplorable actions by MDC leaders, activists and employees clearly compromise the credentials of the MDC as a real democratic alternative to Zanu PF.”

The students accuse the MDC of fanning divisions in its ranks in order to control the union. ZINASU said selected members of the union were barred from the memorial because of fears that they planned to stage protests.

“The allegations were baseless,” ZINASU added.

In response, Chamisa said security at the event was provided by the police, and wondered when the MDC youths played the “vigilante role” of barring the ZINASU members.

“We don’t have prophets in the MDC who would foretell that certain individuals plan to protest,” said Chamisa, a former president of ZINASU. “The trouble with this whole issue is that ZINASU now has too many faces, it’s like an octopus. We did not author this multi-headed animal called ZINASU.

“The ZINASU we used to know is a ZINASU which was indivisible and focused on issues but now we hear of a ZINSU with too many voices, heads and faces. We don’t even know what we are dealing with here, whether we are responding to a decoy, or hoax.”

The NCA, whose leader Lovemore Madhuku addressed the public memorial, said it was “shocking” that the alleged attacks “happened at a time when we were all remembering the life of a heroine and a proponent of democracy, Amai Tsvangirai.”

“The behaviour by the MDC youths exhibited on Saturday is typical of, if not worse than that of Zanu PF thugs. One wonders if this is the behaviour that the MDC has been taught by their new found partners in the inclusive government,” the NCA said in a statement which also urged the MDC, “especially its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, to openly denounce this violent and unacceptable behaviour.”

It added: “We hope that such barbaric acts will be a thing of the past from today going forward.”

One of the injured officials, Mudzengi, is described as in a “critical” condition at Harare’s Avenues Clinic.

It is not the first time the MDC has been linked with violence. An October 2005 split in the party was partly blamed on Tsvangirai’s apparent refusal to take action against several party activists, including one of his bodyguards, whom he rehired after he had been suspended by the disciplinary committee.

The youths had been accused of turning the party’s Harvest House HQ into a “no-go area” for certain members of the national executive, and launching violent attacks on the party’s own MPs.

In 2006, Zimbabwe’s new ambassador to Senegal, Trudy Stevenson, who broke away from Tsvangirai’s MDC in the 2005 split, narrowly escaped with her life after a panga attack by alleged Tsvangirai supporters whom she identified.

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