HARARE North MP Trudy Stevenson says MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is trying to wriggle out of culpability for the violence that resulted in the brutal atta
ck on her near Mabvuku in July.
Commenting on a report by a commission of inquiry set up by the Tsvangirai camp of the fractured opposition party which dwelt on infiltration by the CIO, Stevenson said the MDC leader should take stock of the commission’s findings to cleanse his party of violence.
“I am hoping Tsvangirai will take it (the report) as a first step and start dealing with infiltration and realise his failure to act on the violence among some of the people close to him. He has depended much on his “kitchen cabinet” for advice and that is the major reason why the party split,” she said.
Citing the violence that ensued at Adelaide Acres in 2001, Stevenson said Tsvangirai had been warned over the past five years by executive members concerned about the infiltration and the violent streak in some of his closest aides but he had simply ignored it.
Stevenson said she was surprised the police had dropped charges against Mabvuku MP Timothy Mabhawu when investigations revealed that a phone belonging to Simangele Manyere, one of the victims, was found at the home of the MP’s campaign manager who is Mabvuku district treasurer.
“When I asked the police why they had dropped charges they were ‘mealie-mouthed’ about the issue. They were embarrassed,” Stevenson said yesterday.
Tsvangirai disputed some of the findings of the report at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We disagree with some of the findings because they are based on factually incorrect information,” he said.
“The commission states that previous attempts to address issues of violence within the party failed to bear fruit. That is incorrect. We took action against certain individuals involved in violence in the past. In June 2005, we expelled more than 30 youths from the party because of their violent activities.”
But Stevenson said the dismissal of five officials from the party in the initial stages of a purge, ostensibly to limit damage caused by infiltration into the opposition party by government agents, simply reinforced her assertion. The four include head of security for Harare province, Smart Mesa, and chairwoman of Harare province, Rorana Dandajena.
Also fired were Mabvuku-Tafara district members — all from one family — Beauty Duncan Gatsi, the organising secretary in the main wing, Judith Gatsi, chairperson of the women’s wing, Albert Gatsi, who had a ward position, and Reginald Gatsi, secretary of the youth league.
Victims of the purge, who refused to be identified for fear of reprisals said: “We could not imagine the president (Tsvangirai) stooping that low. We were shocked by his behaviour as we did not expect him to fire us without even bringing us before a disciplinary committee.”
Smart Mesa, who was responsible for security, was fired when the party discovered that he was a former CID police officer who was allegedly passing party information to the CIO.
Dandajena was fired because of her alleged strong ties with Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the deputy secretary-general in the Mutambara-led MDC.