These guys are allegedly members of Khupe's faction of the MDC, caught red-handed burning down a bus that had ferried Chamisa supporters from Gweru to a rally in Bulawayo on April 7. They appeared in court yesterday and were remnded out of custody to May 31

Nelson Chamisa's faction of the MDC-T had a bus they used to ferry supporters from Gweru to a rally in Bulawayo on April 7 this year burnt down by six members of Thokozani Khupe's faction.

The six, Dumisani and Thando Moyo, Tatenda Nyandoro, Darlington Siziba,  Cliff Sibanda and Bongani Phiri were remanded out of custody when they appeared in a Bulawayo court yesterday. Their trial will continue on 31 May.

Chamisa had apparently decided to ferry supporters from neighbouring towns and cities in order to bolster the numbers at the White City stadium rally, which did not go down well with Khupe's faction. Khupe considers Bulawayo and Matabeleland her stronghold and expects to get the lion's share of her seats after the election from there.

The bus, owned by a company called T&H, was parked along Hyde Park Road in Bulawayo waiting for the rally to finish so that it could take Gweru supporters back to their town when the driver saw one of Khupe's people spalshing it with petrol.

By the time the bus driver got out of the bus, the front of his bus was already on fire. He did not have a fire extinguisher, apparently, as required by the laws of Zimbabwe. So he used fistfuls of sand to try and extinguish the blaze.

As he was doing so, the suspects jumped into their Honda Fit and tried to make a getaway, but were soon blocked by Chamisa  supporters' cars, apprehended and handed over to the police.

The suspects are denying the charge that they burnt down the bus, causing a couple of thousand of dollars worth of damage.

The Khupe faction denies all knowledge of these culprits and claims they are not their members.

Bussing supporters to rallies has become part and parcel of the propaganda drive by both the MDC and ZANU PF. The idea is basically to project the image of popularity and fervour, which would drive other people sitting on the fence to support for and vote for the party they believe has the numbers.


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