Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE faction-ridden MDC-T has suspended its national organising secretary Mr Abednicho Bhebhe to quell a potential rebellion from Matabeleland structures against party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Bhebhe and other senior party officials including one of the vice-presidents Ms Thokozani Khupe and national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo were assaulted by youths sent from Harare after they snubbed the MDC Alliance launch in the capital on August 5.
Ms Khupe, Mr Bhebhe and Mr Moyo were attacked after they allegedly convened a meeting at the party’s provincial offices in Bulawayo a day after the Alliance launch.
The trio are against the formation of an MDC Alliance in Matabeleland provinces as they believe the MDC-T can go solo in the region.
To save face, Mr Tsvangirai swiftly moved to suspend the party’s national deputy spokesperson Ms Thabitha Khumalo and the deputy treasurer-general Mr Charlton Hwende and three members of the youth wing pending investigations.
Yesterday, in an extra-ordinary meeting of the MDC-T national executive in Harare, the party lifted Ms Khumalo’s suspension while referring Mr Hwende’s case and that of the three youths to the national council for disciplinary action.
In a statement, Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka said Ms Khumalo was cleared of wrong-doing while Mr Bhebhe was found guilty of making reckless statements to the Press.
“The executive received a report from the probe team that investigated the disturbances and deliberated on the committee’s findings. After three hours of intense deliberations, the executive made the following resolutions.
“That suspended deputy national spokesperson Hon. Thabitha Khumalo be reinstated to her position following her exoneration from any involvement on the matter by the internal probe team. She has been reinstated to her position with immediate effect.
“That deputy treasurer-general Mr Charlton Hwende remains suspended following the findings of the probe team that he made inflammatory statements before the disturbances. His matter has been referred to the national council for disciplinary action against him to commence in line with the party constitution,” said Mr Tamborinyoka.
He said Mr Bhebhe was suspended after he was found guilty of making Press statements that damaged the party’s name.
“His matter has also been duly referred to the national council for disciplinary action to commence in line with the party constitution,” Mr Tamborinyoka said.
“All the youths who were involved, including deputy national youth chairperson Shakespeare Mukoyi, remain suspended. Their matter has been referred to the disciplinary committee in line with the party constitution.”
Mr Bhebhe had made media statements that the youths who assaulted them were acting on the orders of Mr Tsvangirai.
“We are a democratic party and democracy should prevail. We are all shocked somebody sent a team from Harare to come and beat us up. That team came in the name of the party president,” Mr Bhebhe was quoted saying earlier this month. Contacted for comment on the latest developments yesterday, Mr Bhebhe said he was not aware of the suspension and would only make comments after being officially informed.
Meanwhile, MDC president Professor Welshman Ncube has revealed that his party was allocated 10 seats out 38 from the Matabeleland region in the coalition arrangement.