HARARE - Disagreements over the party name and colours are threatening to scupper the union of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC and Tendai Biti’s renewal team, insiders have said.
The parties are set to officially sign a “unity accord” tomorrow to become one political party and start preparing for a joint congress.
While most of the modalities for the merger are in place, insiders from both the Ncube and Biti sides say there still remain grey areas.
The insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biti’s side was keen on having the new party using the “Renewal” while the Ncube side wants to retain their name.
The name of the party would thus be called “MDC renewal” if the proposal is adopted.
However, Ncube is said to have realised that he would be the biggest loser amid fears his party will be “swallowed” given that the Biti’s camp has been calling itself the MDC renewal team.
To counter the move, Ncube is said to have proposed that the new party adopts green colours to retain his MDC identity, a development insiders say Biti’s camp is uncomfortable with.
“There is a real war raging on over the issues of party colours and name because each side is determined to keep their identities,” said a top official from the Ncube side.
“The renewal guys would want us to think that by using the name MDC we will benefit as if it is not also theirs yet we know they are called MDC renewal so if we allow them to keep that, it is us who would have been swallowed so our green colour must be retained.”
Solomon Madzore, a top official from the Biti side, confirmed that there were issues to do with the name of the party and the colours which are yet to be finalised.
Madzore however, claimed there were no disagreements, adding that the issues will be decided at their inaugural congress next year.
“For now the party will be called the United Movement for Democratic Change (UMDC) but come next year when we have our congress, the issue of name and party colours will be decided by the people,” Madzore said.
“We will use both our orange and the MDC guys’ green colours simultaneously to accommodate everyone until then because there is no need to rush these things now.”
The other issue that has allegedly strained relations and threatens to scupper the merger is allocation of influential posts in the party’s, lower structures.
The renewal side is said to have called for a structure audit of both parties from ward level to determine who has the highest numbers.
The group with the highest numbers in their respective structures would be tasked with allocating positions for the united party, a situation the Ncube-led MDC is reported to be unhappy with as they literally have no structures in Mashonaland provinces.
“We will likely take most of the district and provincial chairpersons posts because we have more numbers as our structures are almost full while the MDC side probably only has structures in Bulawayo,” said a renewal official.
“That gives us an advantage if we manage to push through this method of uniting structures because we also have full structures in Bulawayo as well.”
Ncube’s group broke ranks with the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2005 over differences on whether or not to participate in that year’s senatorial elections.
The MDC further split in April after Biti and Elton Mangoma unsuccessfully attempted a palace coup on Morgan Tsvangirai, ostensibly to give the party new impetus after the 2013 electoral defeat to Zanu PF.