Extraordinary measures needed to rejuvenate MDC

HARARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to preside over meetings of three top organs of his party next week.

According to reports, the MDC president’s national standing committee, along with the national executive and the national council will be holding their respective meetings in Harare next week at the most opportune time for the country’s largest opposition party.

Although the agenda for the meetings has not been revealed to the public, party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told the Daily News that focus would be on the party’s programmes for the current year and a report to be presented by the party’s negotiator in the MDC Alliance.

Anyone who has been following the developments in the opposition would be disappointed if the MDC does not tackle all the burning issues rattling the party.

It is now a public secret that the party is deeply divided not just over the MDC Alliance but Tsvangirai’s leadership, with a section of it pressing for his retirement on account of his deteriorating health and differences over how the movement must be run.

It is timely that the MDC is holding its crisis meeting at a time when Zanu PF has just taken a giant leap towards defusing its internal challenges, chief of which were the divisions emanating from Robert Mugabe’s continued hold on power when it was quite apparent that he was past his sell-by-date.

While we may not agree with how Zanu PF dealt with Mugabe, the important thing is that the ruling party has emerged stronger without him and his controlling wife, Grace.

Having dealt with Mugabe, Zanu PF is taking concrete steps under Emmerson Mnangagwa to consolidate its grip on power by any means necessary, including forestalling reforms and reverting to its usage of coercive tools to win the polls, inter-alia the use of the military to campaign for the party.

Under these circumstances, the MDC needs to be at its best to stand up to a rejuvenated Zanu PF. We doubt if Tsvangirai can produce the magic after nearly two decades of chasing an elusive dream.

It is instructive that Zanu PF had to take the extraordinary measure of a military intervention to resolve its issues and similarly Tsvangirai must conjure some miracle to release the MDC from the current logjam.

Considering his failing health, the lack of funding and the discord in his party, the MDC leader must make hard decisions that may not be for his personal interests but in the best interest of the party.

It may not be too late for him to give way to a successor with fresh ideas, and capable of uniting the moribund movement.