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Party of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Denies Targeting Defectors

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party is denying press reports that it is intimidating former members who have defected to a rival faction led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.

At the weekend, 84 activists claiming to have deserted the Tsvangirai MDC formation for the Ncube wing, were paraded in Bulawayo.

Another 24 youths from the second city's Pumula surburb have since followed their 84 counterparts, it is said.

State media reported Wednesday that some of those who crossed the floor are now leaving in fear, claiming former colleagues in the Tsvangirai MDC were threatening them.

The Bulawayo-based Chronicle newspaper quoted one Ruth Ngwenya as saying: “Some of the people that I used to work with before I left the MDC-T came to warn me on Monday. They said the party was mobilizing youths to teach those who left a lesson.”

But deputy spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo, of the Tsvangirai MDC, told VOA her party has not received any news about the defections, adding they do not condone violence.

“Our party is implementing recommendations from a commission of inquiry that addresses the question of violence," said Khumalo. "So it does not make sense for anyone to accuse the party of violence, we are a party of excellence.”

Organizing secretary, Qhubani Moyo of the Ncube MDC formation said his party is expecting more defections in the province regardless of the alleged threats.

“The people of Matabeleland have seen that the MDC-T has nothing new to offer," said Moyo. "They have since seen that MDC and Zanu PF are two sides of the same coin.”