MDC infighting becomes circus

Ray Matikinye

REPORTS this week that one of the rival factions in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) held a national council meeting that upheld party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s suspension h

ave left the electorate wondering whether the curtain will ever come down on the political farce they are witnessing.


Both sides seem to claim legitimacy and accuse each other of violating the party constitution. But the MDC power struggle has now degenerated into a circus.


Following a meeting of the national council on December 1 that summoned the pro-senate faction comprising Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube, Gift Chimanikire, Fletcher Dulini Ncube, Paul Themba Nyathi and Trudy Stevenson to a disciplinary hearing which suspended them (they did not attend), the group has countered by reafffirming Tsvangirai’s suspension for violating the constitution.


Accusations flying between the factions have left party supporters bewildered and the MDC paralysed.


Analysts say the major loser in the on-going fight for supremacy in the MDC is the electorate that had invested so much hope and faith in the opposition party. Indeed many have died for it.


Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said the two factions in the MDC seem to have reached a point where reconciliation was impossible.


“The MDC has reached the end of the road as a unified political organisation,” Masunungure said.


“Each of the two forces can go their own way, rather than pretend that they can reconcile and operate like they did before they split over the issue of the senate. The brutal reality is that they each have to go their separate ways,” he said.


But Tsvangirai’s spokesman William Bango scoffed at the idea of the party disintegrating.


“We are currently re-organising the party ahead of the congress and I am afraid our colleagues will be left behind while concentrating their energies on misinterpreting the constitution,” Bango said yesterday.


“Congress will decide who the MDC is and which path the people want to follow.”


However, the pro-senate faction also said they were organising for congress.


Nelson Chamisa, who is on the side of MDC leader Tsvangirai, yesterday said the pro-senate group was violating the constitution by holding “unlawful” meetings.


“We challenge the ‘rebels’ to go to court if they cannot interpret our constitution,” Chamisa said.


“It is becoming clear that the ‘rebels’ respect constitutionalism and the rule of law for as long as it is not against them.”


The pro-senate group has been accusing Tsvangirai of violating the constitution and unleashing thugs against party colleagues.