Youths linked to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly clashed in Bulawayo on Saturday following a rally held by the party leader in the city to discourage Zimbabweans from voting in the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, was quick to dismiss the reports of the intra-party violence saying the MDC-T leader’s rallies went without interruption.
Indications are that the party’s supporters in Bulawayo are divided over the MDC-T’s decision not to take part in the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections and any national poll until there are tangible electoral reforms. They fear that they will lose 5 seats currently up for grabs in a region widely regarded as the MDC-T stronghold.
The city has been ravaged by internal squabbles after the election of Gift Banda as provincial chairman was nullified by the High Court following a petition filed by Matson Hlalo. The position was given to Dorcas Sibanda, who was herself ousted early this month.
The weekend violence was reportedly instigated by those who are unhappy with the poll boycott and are supported by party vice president, Thokozani Khuphe.
However, Tamborinyoka says there is no rift between Khuphe and Tsvangirai.
However, chairman of the MDC-T Veterans Activist Association, Swithern Chorowodza, tells Studio 7 there was indeed violence.
He says it is suspected that the instigators were supporters of rival factions.