MDC turns 14

HARARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is still limping from a heavy election defeat, says his party, turning 14 today, is here to stay and “fight a brutal dictatorship using democratic means.”

Tsvangirai, who polled 34 percent of the presidential election votes in the July 31 harmonised elections, maintains that the polls were rigged and has shrugged off suggestions and insinuations that the labour-backed movement lost the elections because of complacency and the imposition of candidates.

Today, September 11, marks the day when the MDC was formed by a group of students, academics, trade unionists and other civil rights campaigners.

Since its formation, the MDC has blossomed, metamorphosing into a formidable party that has changed the political landscape of the country.

The highlight of the MDC struggle to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF in power since 1980 was perhaps in 2008 when Tsvangirai handed Mugabe his first electoral defeat.

He, however, failed to get enough votes to form a government, triggering a presidential election run-off that was derailed by violence, leading eventually to formation of a coalition government in 2009.

At the behest of Sadc, Tsvangirai and Mugabe went on to form a coalition government that salvaged the country from the edge of a precipice, ended runaway inflation and combated medieval diseases such as cholera which were ravaging the country.

That is now history, with the MDC leader now reeling from the party’s heavy defeat in the July 31 elections. He now has to retreat to opposition politics albeit as the leader of a minority party in a Parliament where Zanu PF has the lion’s share of seats.

Notwithstanding the setback, Tsvangirai seems to have taken defeat in his stride, piling the blame on Zanu PF’s rigging “shenanigans”.

On Saturday, to mark the party’s anniversary, Tsvangirai and his team travel to Mutare in Manicaland where the party’s dominance has been turned upside down.

In the July 31 polls, Zanu-PF won 22 National Assembly seats in Manicaland, while MDC only managed four — a huge reversal to the results in 2008 when the MDC won 20 seats with Zanu PF clinching just six.

Apparently keen to banish the ghost and horror of the recent elections, Tsvangirai is holding a post election rally where he is likely to buoy his supporters to keep eyes on the 2018 elections.

“I will be at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare with the MDC family on Saturday for the party’s 14th anniversary celebrations,” Tsvangirai wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.

"The occasion could not have come at a better time as we seriously reflect on the monumental July 31 fraud.”

Critics such as Rejoice Ngwenya say for democracy to flourish in the MDC, there is need for the party’s 61-year-old leader to step aside.

“In terms of effective party democracy, a party leader has a mandate to win elections,” Ngwenya said.

“If this was Australia or England, Tsvangirai would have been booted out in an internal party coup in 2008. If he appreciates political branding beyond simplistic populism and if internal democracy flourishes in he should ‘concede defeat’ and step down as party leader.

“A new leader will bring a new vision and impetus in the struggle against dictatorship.”

But Tsvangirai, who already has the backing of several provinces to retain the party’s presidency come 2016 congress, is looking ahead.

“The mission to pursue and recover the people’s stolen voice remains a priority,” he said.

“The MDC is a national project and no amount of electoral theft, thuggery or persecution will stand in the way of the national agenda for change. For 14 years, the MDC has fought a brutal dictatorship using democratic means and will not relent. We are here to stay.”

Comments (6)

The problem is that the MDC has let the people down by playing as a christian activist group. Always talking bible when they are a political outfit. They must be tough and not offer themselves for abuse like what they did at Sadc. they are too desperate, in politics you should prepare to kill or be killed. God will always accept a man who kills in self defense.

Mukorekore - 11 September 2013

The MDC must accept responsibility for the 31st July defeat.They had the whole time in the world to get into power but they chose to pursue personal interests and dumped the people.The number of independent candidates in their camp says it all.Most of the Mps lost touch with the electorate during their tenure in parliament and behaved as if they were still in opposition politics when in actual fact they were supposed to prove their mettle.However it is still not to late and Tsvangirai must get back to the grassroots and only that move can salvage what is left of that party

Wellington Mukundwa - 11 September 2013

Well said mukorekore for example in 2008 when zanu saw that they were not going to win the run off they `unprovocted started beating up people now if mdc had a strong youth wing in its ranks it would easily repelled the thugs and and demanded election results to be released immediately but bcoz mdc is a church organisation zanu will always capitalise on that and come 2018 they will again use their method again mdc will loose so mdc change your attitude if you want to be in power do as they do it is zimbabwean way of winning elections failure to that then stop dreaming of being in power start now for a counter attack .

Dibulaanyika - 11 September 2013

Iwe unoda kupiwa imba naPresident asi wotaura manyepo kuvanhu. The moment you ask for an exit package you are recognising his ligitimacy. Ramba mota nemba tioneka. Tibvire apa.

Bhuru - 11 September 2013

yep, Uncle Bob is a dictator, blah blah, blah..............14years on and Chematama is still clinging on to power! y doesnt he step down amd allow other with new ideas to take over , I wonder y? Uncle B is here to restore Zimbabwe to its glory days , we just have to have a little faith in our leaders people!!

Uncle Bob - 11 September 2013

Is it purely coincidence that soon after formation of MDC things started to get really really bad. Much as they were bad before they got nasty. Pre-2008, the MDC should indirectly take a share of the blame for our implosion because they cornered the cat(or shldwe say jongwe), resulting in it dishing out disastrous policies such as war vets packages, fixing the zim dollar, farm invasions etc all being a desperate means to survive the first real test to their supremacy. Its a catch 22 really, and i see SA is facing a similar one, either have strong opposition or weak opposition that the govt that does not challenge the ruling parties total supremacy but is strong enough to maintain some checks and balances. As for post 2008, MDC is equally and directly responsible for our continued demise. As for me, i signed out long back, only worry about my sphere of influence, i.e family friends and employees.

simba - 12 September 2013

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