The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has died and the electorate has to accept its death, as no one could resurrect it, exiled former cabinet minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has said.
Speaking on a Twitter space hosted by CITE on the aftermath of the Nomination Court: By-Elections or Mini General Election, Moyo, a former University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, said the events leading up to and the sitting of the Nomination Court on 26 January 2022, confirmed the MDC’s demise.
The MDC was formed in 1999 with the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai elected its founding president.
The party has, however, experienced several splits during its short existence and factionalism deepened in March 2020 when the Supreme Court ruled that its popular leader, Nelson Chamisa, was illegitimate.
Moyo asserted that for the first time since 2000, the MDC will not be a major contender in Zimbabwean elections. He said:
This was a very historic Nomination Court, apart from that for the first time, it had two sittings, it’s been decisive, unprecedented and showed election results before the by-elections on March 26, 2022.
We have before the body politic, amazing results that are the outcome of these by-elections, thanks to the sitting of the Nomination Court.
Notably among the results is a historic fact that due to the run-up to the sitting, we have one political party dead and this happens after having it been a major feature of national politics since 1999 or if you want since parliamentary elections of 2000.
Early this year, Chamisa dumped the MDC Alliance name after MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora claimed to be the leader of all parties with the MDC acronym.
Chamisa and his allies launched the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), with the new party set to contest the 26 March by-elections. Said Moyo:
We have one party dead and another party born. I think it is striking and quite surprising that debates on this issue have not unpacked the implications.
The planning on ZANU PF part, in general (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa, in particular, working with Mwonzora, invested a lot of time and resources in a scenario where we were going to have two MDCs or two MDC Alliances.
The fact that Chamisa pulled a fast one on the eve of the Nomination Court, coming up with a new party is something the state of Mnangagwa and ZANU PF obviously thought about, it was not entirely unexpected, but unlikely.
It’s not that they (Chamisa and team) came up with a new party but they came up with one whose immediate impact was to kill anything called the MDC.
Mwonzora had boasted that his MDC-T owned MDC Alliance and all its derivatives, he thought something called MDC was a big deal but the outcome of the Nomination Court has been a surprise to him.
Clearly, he had not bargained for this. I’m sure some of his people wish they had kept the MDC-T and not run as MDC Alliance.
While Chamisa won more than two million votes in the 2018 presidential elections, Mwonzora is yet to lead a political party in a national election.