By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
14 May 2014
MDC-T factional fighting took a dramatic twist Tuesday when Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya was arrested for allegedly stealing from the party’s offices.
Chikwinya, together with Searchmore Muringani and Luckmore Senge, were detained for four hours at the Kwekwe main police station before they were released without charge. The three were nabbed following a report made by the party’s provincial chairman Sedwell Bhebhe. Chikwinya and his two colleagues belong to the Biti camp.
The development comes after the MDC-T split yet again into two factions following a bid by Secretary General Tendai Biti to oust party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Since the split the two factions, one led by Biti and the other by Tsvangirai, have been jostling over the party’s properties countrywide. However the Midlands North leadership has distanced itself from the Biti faction.
Allegations against the three are that they stole three computers, a public address system, a generator, chairs and a photocopier from the party’s provincial office.
Their lawyer Caroline Mugabe confirmed the development to SW Radio Africa and said her clients admit to taking some of the listed items from the office, following a directive from deputy party treasurer Elton Mangoma. According to the lawyer the assets belong to a private company where Mangoma is a director.
Following the MDC-T infighting Mangoma wrote a letter to Chikwinya advising him to take control of all party assets for safe keeping, Caroline Mugabe said.
In the same letter Mangoma, who belongs to the Biti camp, claimed that the decision to safeguard the party’s properties in Midlands and three other provinces was resolved at senior party level.
However Bhebhe accuses Chikwinya and his colleagues of taking the property without permission from the ‘legitimate provincial leadership’.