Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Zim: MDC fracturing?

Interesting article in yesterday's London Telegraph about trouble within the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Three fairly prominent MDC members say they were physically attacked by members of their own party.
The gang of about six abducted him [Frank Chamunorwa] from his home in the capital, Harare, last month. They deliberately humiliated Mr Chamunorwa, throwing him to the ground, kicking and beating him.

[...] The assault happened because Mr Chamunorwa was suspected of plotting against Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader. Senior party figures have accused Welshman Ncube, the secretary general, of planning to oust his leader and seize control of the party - a charge he has denied.

[...] The assault on Mr Chamunorwa was only one of many. Other MDC thugs tried to murder Peter Guhu, a party official, who was forced to flee to South Africa after suffering serious injuries.

Another member, Diamond Karanda, 31, was beaten up inside the MDC's headquarters in Harare on June 16. He was dragged into the boardroom and assaulted so badly that he still cannot walk properly.

[...] Mr Tsvangirai responded by expelling 20 members. His allies point out that Zanu-PF is responsible for the great bulk of Zimbabwe's political violence, a fact confirmed by every human rights report.

But the violence within the MDC has dismayed its most senior figures.

An internal report obtained by The Daily Telegraph, written by David Coltart, the MDC's legal secretary, said the party "appears to be intent on tearing up everything we have worked so hard to build up over the last few, very difficult years". He added that Mr Tsvangirai's expulsion of 20 junior members was an inadequate response.

[...] Observers believe that infighting threatens the MDC's very survival as a political force.

Brian Raftopoulos, a Harare commentator, said: "The MDC is paralysed and if this is not dealt with, it will lead to its demise." (source)