Mwonzora Under Fire
4 July 2023
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Founding members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have accused current president Douglas Mwonzora of killing the once vibrant opposition political party.

Mwonzora wrested the MDC from Nelson Chamisa, who later went on to form the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) after he was hounded out of the MDC with the use of the courts.

However, there are fears that the MDC is facing imminent collapse after the August 23 harmonised elections this year.

MDC founding member Elias Mudzuri told NewsDay that it was a shame that the opposition members had failed to save the party.

“It’s a shame that we failed to uphold an institution which used to be very strong and known worldwide. It’s very painful looking at what used to a very big name,” he said.

“What Dougie (MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora) did is a shame. Everything that he did was to destroy the party. Whatever he did, he did that for himself and that is why he ended up fielding himself (as presidential candidate) and a few others. We have never heard of that (before).”

Mudzuri said Mwonzora should leave the party.

“He (Mwonzora) must resign so that we revive the party. We should get this party running,” he said.

Former MDC-T chairperson and Speaker of the National Assembly Lovemore Moyo said the party died with the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“By the way, that is not my former party (MDC-T). Mine was just MDC and later on MDC-T for electoral purposes. After the death of the founding president, Tsvangirai, there were some splinter formations and I can’t attach myself to any of those. I am not for Mwonzora or Nelson Chamisa. I was part of the Tsvangirai-led MDC,” he said.

In an interview with NewsDay at the weekend, political analyst and chairperson of the regional think-tank, Southern African Political Economy Series Trust, Ibbo Mandaza, concurred that Mwonzora had destroyed the opposition party.

“Mwonzora believed that he was moving with the movement that Tsvangirai led. He was wrong. We knew from the beginning that he had gotten lost.

“What happened, therefore, in essence is that Mwonzora and his little clique evicted themselves out of the MDC,” Mandaza said.

He added: “CCC is, in fact, the real MDC. It has not died. What died is the Mwonzora MDC. The movement which was led by Tsvangirai or the contents of MDC remains the same even if it’s renamed CCC.”

Mandaza said the contents of the old MDC led by Tsvangirai remained the same in terms of membership, orientation, affiliation and ideology.

“Even though Chamisa has tried to transform it into a new movement, it is not. On the other side, Chamisa is also wrong to think that he is leading a new movement. It’s not.

“It is regrettable that Chamisa changed the name. Some of us advised him to keep that brand MDC because we saw that, predictably, Mwonzora’s campaign was going to end up in disaster. We saw that a long time ago,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Witness Dube, however, blamed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for the woes.

“This is no doubt (this is) the lowest that our party has reached since its formation. While Zec had a big hand in our failure to register some 87 candidates, the inescapable truth is that everything rises and falls on leadership.

“The foundations of the MDC are too deep to collapse the party overnight. We will make a very strong comeback. Our members are encouraged to vote fellow opposition candidates where we have none to keep the hope for change alive by all means possible,” Dube said.

The MDC, which was formed in 1999, was the first opposition party to garner a parliamentary majority against Zanu PF in the 2000 parliamentary election.

In 2008, Tsvangirai defeated the late former President Robert Mugabe without the acceptable margin to form a government, leading to a violent run-off that the MDC boycotted, leading to the formation of a coalition government.