HARARE - The split in MDC over demands for leadership renewal was long coming.
But judging by the public’s reaction, there is a strong realisation that the split could leave Zanu PF without any credible challenge and sound a death knell to the country’s struggle for democracy.
A divided opposition is likely to give President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF sway in running the country which is struggling to fund a bankrupt government and stem a biting cash crunch and collapsing industries and infrastructure.
When the MDC lost to Zanu PF in last year’s general elections, there was numbed shock as the party took it in and then the blame game started.
Expelled treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma, drew first blood when he wrote a letter asking party president Morgan Tsvangirai to quit.
Tsvangirai was accused of failing to win the last five elections, and that his private life had cost the MDC elections.
While the two warring factions are slugging it out, it will be members of the opposition and the people of Zimbabwe who will be left to pick up the pieces.
And we hope that this latest fight will not turn violent and damage the opposition’s standing in society.
Mangoma claims he was given a beating at the instigation of Tsvangirai, a charge the MDC leader has fiercely refuted.
Over the weekend, Tsvangirai blamed some of his clansmen in the party leadership, including the two Madzore brothers, of stabbing him in the back after he had helped them. It now seems unlikely the two groups will find common ground.
Tsvangirai has blamed Mugabe, donors, Zanu PF and former Rhodies for the split, but whatever it is Zanu PF is enjoying this charade.
But some have argued that Zanu PF is also divided over succession.
With the country’s two biggest parties split by factionalism and squabbles over leadership renewal, there is no doubt the biggest losers will be the ordinary Zimbabweans who are reeling from massive job losses, rampant corruption and collapsing health, social and education services.
With bad creditworthiness, Zimbabwe has been failing to get funding from its Chinese friends and neighbours.
The Breton Woods institutions have shut Zimbabwe out because it has failed to pay a debt of over $6 billion.
Despite massive mineral resources including diamonds, gold, platinum and chrome, the country is struggling to find investors who can help unlock value from the resources.
When politicians fight for their livelihood, national problems tend to be shunted aside and Zimbabweans will take it on the chin.
As they say, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.