Yesterday, the party’s interim leadership led by Thokozani Khupe held a hastily-arranged meeting of its standing committee in Harare, which officials said was meant to clear the ground for re-unification talks with the Nelson Chamisa group.
A slight complication of any such talks is that these would have to accommodate MDC Alliance vice presidents Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti – who joined the coalition when it was launched by the late and much-loved Morgan Tsvangirai in August 2017.
This comes after party youths seized the MDC’s iconic national headquarters in Harare, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) House, in a desperate bid to force dialogue between Khupe and Chamisa.
The two have been involved in a vicious tussle for the control of the country’s largest opposition party ever since the revered Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
MDC youth assembly chairperson for Harare, Paul Gorekore – who led the takeover of MRT House – told the Daily News yesterday that they were determined to achieve dialogue between Khupe and Chamisa.
“The standing committee, which is here today (yesterday), will be attended by the MDC leadership, and from that meeting we expect them to come up with a resolution to redirect the engagement process … but the fact is that we are really desperate for unity.
“We are trying by all means to push our leaders to find each other, sit down and solve their differences, which we believe can be resolved amicably.
“When I talk about leaders, I am referring to those who held various positions when President Morgan Tsvangirai died in 2018,” Gorekore told the Daily News.
“According to what we agreed as the youths, the leaders must follow the constitution. So, when they say they have suspended or expelled so and so, the procedure must be followed to the extent that the decisions must be ratified by the national executive committee and the national council.
“So, the leaders have not been expelled yet until those organs of the party have met. If they endorse that, or do not, then that will be the final decision,” he added.
Gorekore was apparently referring to the sacking of Chamisa from the 2014 structures by Khupe, as well as the many recalls of legislators and councillors around the country – which other members of the Khupe team such as organising secretary Abedinico Bhebe have strongly objected to. On his part, MDC chairperson Morgen Komichi said he would only comment after yesterday’s crucial meeting.
“There is an emergency standing committee meeting today (yesterday) where all those issues, including the fate of the expelled leaders, will be discussed. So, a statement will be released afterwards,” Komichi told the Daily News.
This comes as MDC youths seized MRT House on Monday, amid chaotic scenes – before vowing to force dialogue between Khupe and Chamisa. In addition to commandeering the building, the discontented youths said their desperate action was meant to save the party from collapsing, as their leaders’ mindless bloodletting continued to escalate. The move came as political analysts warned at the weekend that the ugly infighting had now taken the once formidable party to the brink of political oblivion.
Addressing the media, former MP for Highfield West Happymore “Bvondo” Chidziva said bluntly that youths from the party’s current two main factions had had enough of their leaders’ brawling.
“We have decided to go back to the 2014 structures and start working together without apportioning factions to each other.
“From there, we want all processes done properly – starting with the meeting of the national standing committee, national executive and the national council.
“We are sick and tired of the factional fights and for the past 21 years the youths have suffered the most. Some died along the way and we have realised that we have reached a point where the name MDC was about to be buried,” Chidziva told journalists outside MRT House.
“We, therefore, want to have the past mistakes resolved like the Supreme Court directed and from there we come back and work as the MDC-Alliance in peace.
“The MDC-T is a component of the Alliance, but there were mistakes which need to be resolved by electing Tsvangirai’s successor. The leaders must find each other. That is the only thing we must do.
“We are past that time when we labelled each other Zanu-PF,” Chidziva, who was youth leader in the 2014 structures, further told journalists.
“I have been engaging leaders in the party and we agree that Khupe is the acting president, with Morgen Komichi as the chairperson and Douglas Mwonzora as the secretary-general, while Lynnette Karenyi-Kore heads the women’s’ assembly in that order, so that we close all space for Zanu-PF.
“The MDC-Alliance will still exist because it was started by Tsvangirai. So, it is only about the MDC-T component sorting its own things,” Chidziva added.
On his part, Gorekore said then that they had taken over the symbolic party headquarters to unite the leadership and save the party from being hijacked by Zanu-PF.
“Individuals have been making unconstitutional and illegal decisions without the mandate of the Zimbabwean voters, party organs from branches, wards, districts, provinces, the national executive and national council organs – which have not met since the Supreme Court judgment.
“The party has been infiltrated by sell-outs with an agenda to derail our freedom. It, therefore, follows that we must act to unite our leadership, our support base and Zimbabweans at large, and ensure the vision of Dr Morgan Tsvangirai lives on across generations,” Gorekore said.
“As the first line of defence of the party, the vanguards of democracy and the custodians of the party and its future, we have assumed all security duties of the party HQ, MRT House.
“This was necessitated by our realisation on the need to unite the people in the fight for a better Zimbabwe and defend the civilian space in the face of military state capture.
“We as the youths of the party as per 201.4 structures, we have decided to go beyond our differences and unite to resolve the current crisis,” Gorekore said further.
This comes as the Daily News has reported on the MDC’s senseless brawls consistently, fairly and accurately over the past two years – calling out the futility of the anarchy.
At the weekend, political analysts also warned that the party’s futile infighting was driving the MDC to its death bed. They also repeated their other warnings that the divided opposition would find it exceedingly difficult to compete with Zanu-PF in the fast-approaching 2023 national elections.
The MDC has been ravaged by its futile ructions since Tsvangirai died from colon cancer in February 2018. The infighting went a notch up after the Supreme Court judgment earlier this year which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court that nullified Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the party.