An MDC-T member has accused party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai of instigating youths to attack her at a meeting in January this year after he allegedly ordered all members opposed to the nomination of Gift Banda as Bulawayo provincial chairperson to be dragged out of the function.
BY SILAS NKALA
The disclosures were made by MDC-T members Donaldson Mabutho (32), Thobani Ncube (28), Raymond Gombedza (44) and Tendai Masotsha (41) when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Batanai Tuwe yesterday.
In their defence, all pleaded not guilty to the charge of assaulting Susan Mbewe of Iminyela.
Mabutho said he did not see Mbewe on the day in question because there were many people at Njube Hall, while Ncube denied assaulting her and does not recall seeing her.
Gombedza said Mbewe had instead been identified by Tsvangirai as having tried to disrupt the rally.
Tsvangirai reportedly instructed the MDC-T’s security personnel, one of them being Gombedza, to ask Mbewe and others to leave the hall, as they were disrupting the rally.
“I escorted her out of the hall and left her outside,” Gombedza said.
Masotsha said she did not see Mbewe and she only remembers telling some ladies to open the way for the party’s vice president, Thokozani Khupe, who was entering the venue.
She said she sat behind the party leaders throughout the event.
The accused said charges against them were fabricated by a faction within the party and Mbewe was being used in the factional fights.
The four asked the court to stop being used by a faction in the party to sully other members and prayed that they be found not guilty and acquitted.
They are represented by Kholwani Ngwenya.
The court heard that on January 24 this year there was an MDC-T rally at Njube Hall which was addressed by Tsvangirai.
When the leaders were being introduced, some MDC-T supporters started chanting slogans shouting “No to Gift Banda” and among them was Mbewe.
The four youth members approached her and asked why she was chanting the slogan.
Ncube allegedly dragged her by her dreadlock out of the Hall, while Gombedza held her by the t-shirt.
Outside, Mabutho allegedly joined in and they allegedly took turns to assault her.
A report was made to the police leading to their arrest.