MDC-T threatens defectors
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A number of the defectors said they were now keeping weapons close at hand at night because they feared a repeat of the violence that erupted among MDC-T members in the run-up to the party's Bulawayo provincial elections last year.
The Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC unveiled the defectors at a ceremony held at their offices along 2nd Avenue on Sunday.
In separate interviews yesterday, a number of the defectors said they feared for their lives.
Mrs Ruth Ngwenya, who said she used to be an organiser in the MDC-T's main Bulawayo District, said some members of the party warned her that she had been included in a hit list of people to be beaten up by the party's youths.
"Some of the people that I used to work with before I left the MDC-T came to warn me on Monday. They said the party was mobilising youths to teach those who left a lesson," said Mrs Ngwenya.
She said she met some of the youths on the same day and they threatened her.
"They said there is that dog who was spreading malicious lies about Ms Khupe. They said they were ready to deal with me and others who defected," said Mrs Ngwenya.
She said she believed they would carry out their threat as she knew from the time she was with the MDC-T that it was a violent party.
A man who was among the defectors but refused to be named said he had organised friends that he defected with and they were ready to fight violence with violence.
"We have talked this over and have resolved not to be easy targets. When we sleep, we have knives and other weapons under our pillows. Anyone who wants to beat us up should be prepared to lose his or her life while doing it," said the man.
Ms Stella Takawira, who on Sunday said she was a former ward chair for women in Makokoba, said she heard that MDC-T youths had compiled a list of all the defectors.
"We are living in fear. I heard that they have a list of all the people who were unveiled on Sunday. They know where we all live. We should be free to join a party of our choice," said Ms Takawira.
Some of the defectors refused to be interviewed saying they feared reprisals when the story is published.
The MDC secretary for information and publicity in Bulawayo, Mr Edwin Ndlovu, said he was not surprised by the threats because the MDC-T had an entrenched history of violence.
"They are well known for their barbaric methods. The threats are consistent with what we have always been saying about their violent nature. We urge all those who have been threatened to report to the police or the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, so that action can be taken," said Mr Ndlovu.
Contacted for comment, the MDC-T's provincial chairperson for Bulawayo, Mr Gorden Moyo, refuted the allegations.
"That is utter trash, what they are saying is absolute sewage. No one has defected from our party, we have verified our structures and we do not know those people.
"Even if they were once our members, we are so democratic we would not threaten them for leaving," said Mr Moyo.
In April last year, intra-party violence rocked MDC-T with party members in Bulawayo reportedly living in fear after factions vying for the party's chairpersonship in the province allegedly hired gangsters to beat up rivals.
Brutal free-for-all scenes marked the party's meetings in the run-up to its national congress as party members jostled for posts.
A number of the party's members were hospitalised after the clashes.
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