MORGAN Tsvangirai once told President Robert Mugabe that “If you don’t want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently”.
The chilling threat will have played in former energy minister, Elton Mangoma’s mind as he finally managed to leave the MDC-T’s Harare head office to go home Saturday evening – shirt in shreds, spectacles crushed and nose bloody.
The MDC-T’s deputy national treasurer attended a heated meeting of the party’s 210 district chairpersons with a restive mob of up to a thousand activists waiting irritably outside Harvest House.
And as he tried to go home after the meeting, Mangoma was sat upon and beaten-up by some in the waiting mob which was said to be under Tsvangirai’s charge.
Mangoma’s offence was to dare suggest that Tsvangirai consider stepping down to allow the party to choose a new leadership after three successive election defeats with him at the helm.
Challenging the leader in the MDC-T is, apparently, completely unacceptable and punishable by a violent put-down, or worse.
Still, Mangoma was not the only subjected to this crude disciplinary action. Similarly roughed up were former finance minister and the party’s secretary general, Tendai Biti, along with one Promise Mkwananzi who are said to be members of the rebellious lot.
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What shocked Mangoma however, was the fact that Tsvangirai effectively shouted “catch!” at the mob as the party leaders emerged from the meeting and did nothing to restrain the youths as they moved in for the attack.
“I was left with a bloody nose, broken spectacles and a tattered shirt,” Mangoma told NewZimbabwe.com Saturday night.
“The attack happened after the meeting ended at about 1700 hours. Alert the possibility of violence, we had agreed that I would emerge from the building by Tsvangirai’s side and depart in the leader’s vehicle in order to avoid disturbances.
“But once we emerged from the building, I realised that Tsvangirai was, somehow, no longer by my side. I was then attacked while he watched and he certainly did nothing to discourage the mob. My sense was that he had prior knowledge that there would be violence.