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Harvest House fights intensify

by Staff reporter
06 Feb 2024 at 15:36hrs | Views
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora is battling to retain the party's Harvest House headquarters in Harare grabbed from the then MDC-Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa in June 2020 amid revelations that unpaid workers are frantically working to take over the building as part of efforts to recover their 18 months outstanding salaries.

On 8 January this year, a group of youths linked to the disgruntled workers stormed the building, attempting to gain entry and take control, but was repelled by Mwonzora's security and later reported to the police.

Aaron Makahamadze, the MDC-T spokesperson, confirmed the incident, saying "former leaders" of the party were behind the attempted takeover.

"A group of armed thugs attempted to unlawfully and forcibly take control of the party's head office. Due to the vigilance and preparedness of our security department, these barbaric actions were swiftly suppressed and the incident reported to police.

"In connection with the incident, the ZRP arrested three individuals. Preliminary investigations indicate that former leaders from the MDC may be implicated," he said.

He would not divulge names of the "former leaders", but The NewsHawks was informed by MDC-T officials that Elias Mudzuri and Morgan Komichi are being implicated as working with the disgruntled workers to take over the building.

Mudzuri and Komichi, who were fired from the MDC by Mwonzora, both denied any involvement in the attempted takeover.

Sources who spoke to The NewsHawks said the disgruntled workers had planned to take advantage of the lean security at Harvest House on 8 January to grab the property as most party security agents were on festive season break that ended this week on Monday.

Part of Harvest House has been rented out to private businesspersons who are paying just above US$10 000 in monthly rentals. Other tenants are renovating some sections of the building and will soon also be paying more.

The sources said the plan was to gain entry, chase away party security and take control of the building before calling for a national council meeting that would pass a vote of no confidence in Mwonzora and pave the way for a payment plan for outstanding salaries with new leadership.

"Besides the issue of unpaid salaries, there is general dissatisfaction with the leadership of Mwonzora as many feel he has failed to steer the ship after having garnered only two council seats in Nkayi during the last general elections. The MDC since 1999 had never performed so dismally.

"On his part, Mwonzora is saying he can only be removed in the next congress set for 2027 if people feel he has failed to lead the party," said the source.

Another source said in a bid to thwart the resistance of unpaid workers, the party suspended six of them, but the resolve to take over Harvest House continues.

"New ways are being planned by workers to take over Harvest House. However, the party has since beefed up security and any of those seen as threats are no longer allowed anywhere near the building," said the source.

On 26 June 2020, High Court Justice David Mangota dismissed two applications by Chamisa's party trying to regain control of the party headquarters after it was grabbed by then MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe who eventually lost to Mwonzora at an extra-ordinary congress the following year.

With the help of the police and soldiers, Khupe took over Harvest House buoyed by a 30 March Supreme Court ruling that recognisedher as the legitimate MDC-T acting president ahead of Nelson Chamisa after the death of iconic founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Back then, Chamisa's MDC-Alliance party then approached the court, through its lawyer Alec Muchadehama, seeking an order declaring the seizure of the building as illegal, but Justice Mangota threw out the application.

Source - NewsHawks
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