We cannot emulate Zanu PF — MDC

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s main opposition party says it has nothing to emulate from Zanu PF amid speculation that the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition movement is about to amend its constitution in order to deal with unending internal dissent.

After weathering two coup attempts, one in 2005 and the other this year from former key leaders — there has been debate in the MDC to review the party’s constitution to clip the wings of the powerful secretary generals — something that Zanu PF did long back.

In Zanu PF, it is President Robert Mugabe who appoints the secretary for administration — a watered down version of the secretary general.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC organising secretary told the Daily News yesterday that the MDC is looking at entrenching its democratic systems.

“We are reforming our institutions in order to strengthen them. Far from it, we are not going to amend our constitution to weaken the party but rather to strengthen it. Talk that we are copying Zanu PF is a lie.  There is no way that a party of 1999 can copy a party of 1963,” said Chamisa.

Zanu PF, which marked its golden jubilee last year, was formed in 1963, assumed political power in 1980 and like a colossus, has dominated the country’s political landscape for the past 34 years.

On the other hand, the relatively young MDC was formed in 1999 and momentarily assumed power, albeit as a junior partner in 2009.

Four years in an inclusive government with Zanu PF, ended in 2013 with a heartache for the Tsvangirai-led outfit.

Bruised and battered, the MDC was to descend into further turmoil early this year when former secretary-general Tendai Biti went the Welshman Ncube route and broke away from the mainstream MDC formation.

Following the departure of Biti along with a coterie of MDC leaders — there have been calls from within the labour backed movement for a strict constitution to guard against similar incidents in the future.

However, Chamisa said the impending congress, set to be held in October, offers a platform for revival for the opposition.

“We are not going to weaken our party but to embolden it. It is good that we are going to have our congress this year before Zanu PF’s congress in December. This offers us a platform to teach Zanu PF about internal party democracy.

“We taught them that to be a youth, it is about age and they are implementing that. They are several issues which we want Zanu PF to learn from our congress,” said Chamisa.

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