Suspended MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial women`s assembly chairperson, Tendai Masotsha, has been described as a dangerous person who has struck fear into the hearts of the party members, an internal party report has shown.
Masotsha, is alleged to have taken part in the abduction of student Tawanda Muchehiwa in July.
Muchehiwa, a 22 year old journalism student and nephew to ZimLive Editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu was abducted July 30, 2020 – at gunpoint – by suspected state agents, a day before the July 31 nationwide protests called for by Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume against economic mismanagement and corruption by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Narrating his three day torture ordeal, Muchehiwa indicated something amiss about Masotsha’s involvement in his abduction.
Muchehiwa said before he was abducted he received a call from Masotsha, who informed him that she had fliers that could be used in the protests the next day and they met up while he was running errands with his cousins.
In a report dated September 1, to MDC Alliance National Organising Secretary Amos Chibaya, titled: Investigation Into the Integrity of Movement for Democratic Change – Alliance (MDC-A) Bulawayo Women`s Provincial Chairperson, Leader Tendai Luba Masotsha, the Bulawayo Provincial leadership said Masotsha`s alleged conduct had damaged the party`s integrity.
The report said it was “odd and suspicious” that Masotsha was not arrested together with Advent Mathuthu who was later charged with “incitement to violence”.
“These unanswered questions have been asked by Party members and the general public on social media. This public now doubts the MDC-Alliance’s integrity in Bulawayo. Evidence of this doubt is legion and can be presented if there is contestation.”
Masotsha’s own claims of having been abducted and tortured are deemed fake, as the party says she was the only “victim” whose circumstances were murky.
“This is because she did not provide proof of her alleged ordeal,” read the report.
Masotsha is also accused of “smuggling a sensitive and subversive flier into the “MDC BYO PROVINCE EXEC” WhatsApp chat group on July 29, 2020, at 9:48 am.
The investigation noted her “localised and subversive flier exposed everyone in party leadership in Bulawayo to criminal prosecution plus persecution by suspected state security agents.”
“The message on Leader Tendai’s flier conveniently arms Zanu PF with rationale for both its propaganda and violence. The message therefore sabotages the work of the MDC-A Bulawayo provincial communications department.”
MDC Alliance insists it “never produced a flier for 31 July” yet the flier posted by Masotsha on their provincial executive WhatsApp chat group read “police have no capacity to be in every community at the same time. MARCH to their houses and BEAT THEM AS WELL.”
The investigation noted that this message on the flier is criminal.
“It maliciously misrepresents the MDC-Alliance as a violent creature. The statement is not in keeping with the character of the MDC Alliance as espoused by Article 4.3 of the Party Constitution.”
According to the investigation the message “suits the Junta’s narrative of potential for violence” and its desire to enact the draconian Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill.”
“Please note that among other things, the memorandum of the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill states that the bill is meant to “provide for investigation and collection of evidence of cyber crime and… to provide for admissibility of electronic evidence for such offences.”
MDC Alliance said the flier posted by Masotsha places it within reach of the bill’s envisaged dragnet.
In addition, the party noted the flier’s message would attract a charge of “subversion” or “inciting public violence,” which is what state prosecutors have charged the July 31 activists with.
MDC Alliance said this charge is so popular with state prosecutors that it is their preferred weapon since 2019.
The Bulawayo Provincial Executive proposed that Masotsha be brought before a disciplinary hearing on allegations of violating Section 2.1 (n) of the MDC Alliance Disciplinary Code of Conduct and Regulations.
The section speaks against “engaging in acts of violence directly or through inciting others to commit acts of violence.”
The party also proposed that Masotsha be “charged with violating Annexure A, Solemn Declaration [Declaration In Terms Of Article 5.3 (h) of the MDC Constitution] Section 7, which states that “I shall oppose and never practice violence…”
It was noted that other party members now feared Masotsha and her behaviour and recommended that the National Disciplinary Committee formally compels her to “reveal the real source/s of the subversive flier, what the source or sources’ intention were and who printed the fliers. Indeed we want to know where the fliers are from?”
The provincial executive also recommended that Masotsha be “suspended from membership pending dismissal.”