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Zimbabwe Prime Minister's Party Tackles Violence Within its Ranks

The national executive of the MDC formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Friday resolved that all top officials implicated in the violence that rocked the party in the run-up to its congress in Bulawayo last year be punished.

Party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, told journalists the national executive resolved that all MDC members and officials who were implicated in violence should be brought before the national disciplinary committee without regard to their status within the party.

Mwonzora said the national executive noted that President Robert Mugabe's former ruling Zanu PF and state agents directly and indirectly fanned and promoted violence in the MDC in a bid to create chaos within the party.

MDC sources say Mr. Tsvangirai is demanding that officials implicated in violence and corruption be expelled from the party.

Mwonzora refused to name senior party officials fingered in the report but VOA has it on authority that among those mentioned for allegedly causing violence are co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone, legislator Settlement Chikwinya in Midlands and deputy Youth Minister Tongai Matutu in Masvingo and Housing Minister Giles Mutsekwa in Manicaland.

Mwonzora also refused to name Zanu PF officials or state agents implicated in the report besides saying the party has substantial evidence to support its claims.

The committee of inquiry, which was led by lawyer Trust Maanda, recommended that provincial elections in provinces such Chitungwiza, Mashonaland East and West and Manicaland be re-done as they were marred by serious violence.

Mwonzora told VOA the elections would not be re-run in the affected provinces. This week the MDC was rocked by intra-party political violence after party members clashed over posts in Hurungwe in Mashonaland West and Mutare in Manicaland.

Recently, Mashonaland East provincial chairman, Piniel Denga was assaulted by party youths in Marondera East as intra-violence continues to rock the party.

Several youths have since been arrested and appeared at the Marondera Magistrates Court this week.

Mwonzora said the party is worried by some military elements who are meddling in politics. He said the MDC is concerned with the illegal massive recruitment of thousands of soldiers and police officers without treasury's blessings. He adds it’s clear Zanu PF is preparing to unleash violence in the next election.

Apart from Friday's intra-party violence report, the MDC was due to discuss an equally explosive report on corruption in local authorities it controls. The report was not tabled as expected because the party’s deputy secretary general, Tapiwa Mashakada, who led the probe, is attending an investment meeting in London.

Zanu PF leaning political analyst Gabriel Chaibva says the MDC has now admitted it has violent characters within its midst.

But political scientist Professor John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe, who has indicated his intention to run for parliament on an MDC ticket, says the party must go back to the people as it has lost its way.

Meanwhile, an MDC senator and six others arrested Wednesday on charges of public violence Wednesday were Friday granted $50 bail each by Mutare Magistrate Charles Murowe.