Founding president of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, has condemned the beating up of party vice president Thokozani Khupe on Sunday by suspected MDC-T activists, claiming that she is working against an opposition coalition attempting to unseat the ruling Zanu PF party in the 2018 general elections.
Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare today that there is no space for violence in the MDC-T.
"The MDC is a social democratic party whose values include equality, solidarity and the respect of human rights. As such, I unreservedly condemn the violence that happened yesterday, the 6th of August 2017, in Bulawayo where a group of thugs violently disrupted a meeting at our Bulawayo Offices.
"As the President of the party, I condemn in the strongest terms this callous act of violence committed by these people."
He noted that Khupe, together with other members of the national leadership were man-handled by thugs resulting in the vice president having to seek medical attention.
"Her position as the party’s vice president, her dignity and her status as a woman, a mother and a role model to many young women, was immensely undermined in the process. This misguided behavior puts the name of the party and our beliefs into serious disrepute both nationally and internationally.
He said on the flip side, one wonders what motivated this callous behavior and whose cause was being advanced as it is now turning out to benefit their detractors. "Only on Saturday, 5 August 2017, we had successfully launched the MDC Alliance, an event that has overwhelming national support. Before sunset, a few misguided elements decided to dampen the national spirit and momentum of our new path way to democracy.
"I understand there are a few culprits who were apprehended by the police and as the leader of the party, I regard this incident as a criminal act and these thugs must face the full wrath of the law. I have since activated our own internal investigations and appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken against the perpetrators or anyone behind them."
Tsvangirai further said the MDC-T has been a victim of state-sponsored violence for many years. "We have never been perpetrators of violence and we have never adopted the ZANU (PF) template of violence. We have lost over 500 of supporters and leaders due to political violence.
"I, for one, have been a victim of violence at the hands of the State, bashed in a police station, in many circumstances left for dead while there been many attempts on my life. We are investigating this incident with the intention of taking stern action against any of our members who may have been involved in this dastardly act. At the same time, we are not ruling out the invisible hand of the State as it had a huge motive to douse the successful script of the Alliance on Saturday."
He urged party activists to remain vigilant in the run up to the general polls.
The MDC Alliance, which was launched on Saturday, was formed by the MDC-T, MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, Zimbabwe People First, Zanu Ndonga, People's Democratic Party, Transform Zimbabwe and other opposition groups.
Various civic society organizations have condemned the violent attack saying MDC-T leaders should allow the law to take its course.