President Morgan Tsvangirai's statement to the press
There is no space for violence in the MDC
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.
Our Vice President, Hon. Thokozani Khupe, together with other members of the national leadership were man-handled by these 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.
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 our 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.
Our party has been a victim of State-sponsored violence for many years of our existence. 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.
As I said at the Launch of MDC Alliance, this is not going to be an easy road. It needs MDC supporters to remain focused and to stay away from unhealthy intra-party intolerance.
The launch of the MDC Alliance speaks to the bigger picture for the need for a new Zimbabwe and yesterday’s incident should be condemned by all patriotic and God-fearing Zimbabweans as it is at variance with the new country that we want to build.
I want to conclude by saying that if anyone thinks violence will detract or divert us from the Alliance that we launched on Saturday, then they are very wrong. I have an exclusive mandate given to me by the national council, to which I reported 11 days ago, to proceed with working with others as dictated by the people of Zimbabwe whom I met in one-and-half months of consultation.
There is no going back on the notion of Zimbabweans working together to unseat this regime. We must not be diverted and we are keeping our eyes on the ball---alleviating the people of Zimbabwe from their suffering. That must be our focus.
I thank you