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Top Official of Zimbabwe’s MDC Party Denies Plotting to Kill Colleagues

Tsvangirai MDC Director General Toendeipi Shonhe was arrested Monday, but released on the same day after signing a warned and cautioned statement

A senior member of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has described as malicious allegations he plotted to kidnap and kill top officials of his own party.

Tsvangirai MDC Director General Toendeipi Shonhe was arrested Monday, but released on the same day after signing a warned and cautioned statement. Police investigations are continuing.

He is accused of ordering party youths to kill Mr. Tsvangirai’s aide Dennis Murira, Director of Security, Denson ‘Okolo’ Muchineuta and Smart Mesa, another security personnel.

The Director General has been in the news before in connection with resurgent power struggles within the MDC. In 2010 he was assaulted by party youths when clashes broke out at the MDC headquarters in what was described as factional violence.

Party insiders report of power struggles between a faction loyal to Tsvangirai and another said to be backing Secretary General Tendai Biti. Shonhe is in the Biti camp, sources say, while Murira is on Tsvangirai's side.

But both Shonhe and Murira denied the infighting, in separate interviews with VOA.

Meanwhile, Shonhe’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo said the police charge sheet showed that Murira was one of the individuals who filed a complaint with the police. But the Prime Minister's aide told reporter Violet Gonda that though he received death threats he was not the one who went to the police.

“I never went to the police, but some guys who also felt that their lives were in danger did," Murira said. "All I know is that they had received threats just like me.”

He narrated his ordeal: “About a week ago one guy with menacing looks walked into my office and told me he’d been asked to track me down, abduct me and beat me up and possibly harm me. That’s all I can say at the moment.”

Shonhe dismissed the allegations as 'totally false' adding there were ‘misguided elements’ being used by ZANU-PF to divide the MDC.

“I find the allegations to be very malicious because the people I am accused of threatening are all juniors to me and there is no competition. In any case I work very well with all those people.”

Analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya says the MDC must deal decisively with infighting rather than inviting the police - viewed as biased against the party - to deal with their internal problems.

“The leadership of the MDC must tackle this head on... than to involve Mugabe’s police, Chihuri’s police, and the regime’s police to incarcerate one of them.” Ruhanya said. "The leadership of the MDC must deal decisively with these childish pranks.”