MDC at 19

HARARE - After many bans by the authorities ostensibly to stop the spread of the cholera outbreak, the rebranded main opposition party MDC — formerly the MDC Alliance — had its 19th anniversary celebrations yesterday.

Since its historic formation in September 1999 at Harare Grounds, the opposition party has been a trailblazer in the fight for justice, not only in Zimbabwe, but beyond national borders.


Nationally, the MDC Alliance has stood like an island of hope in a sea of despair, corruption, penury and hopelessness after the liberation party Zanu PF lost its bearings, veered off the course and betrayed the people of Zimbabwe.

It has not been unusual to hear the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe being compared to Nelson Mandela and the South African people’s struggle against apartheid; that is how phenomenal it has been.

Under the simple message “Chinja maitiro/Giqula Izenzo” (change your way of doing things), the MDC has strongly captured in simple words the minds and hearts of millions of Zimbabweans, who have not been averse to raise its open palm symbol.

MDC supporters attending the 19th anniversary celebrations

Globally, the MDC has been an exemplary platform for all people struggling against dictatorship and authoritarian rule in the 21st Century, with other recent moving stories being that of the Burmese people.

In Zimbabwe, the MDC’s emergence drastically altered the political landscape sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst.

For the worst because the ruling party Zanu PF’s authoritarian reaction to the rise of opposition politics left a trail of destruction.

The ruling party’s panicky attempts to punish the citizens for rallying behind the message of change was responsible for the rampant election violence in the period 2000 – 2, the violent/unplanned land reform programme which has destroyed agriculture, the Murambatsvina and the many attempts to beat the population into submission, including in the 2008 elections.

But as a testimony to the resilience of the ordinary people, the struggle for change remains alive 19 years later.

Along the way, many have lost their lives, their livelihoods, their families, their peace, their property, their limb, and so on, in a humbling expression of patriotism only comparable to that exhibited by young lives lost in the earlier struggle to free Zimbabwe from colonialism.

It is therefore apt, though it has never been by guns, so say they are heroes of the Second Liberation struggle for Zimbabwe, whose objective is the eradication of the unfortunate oppression of Zimbabweans by fellow Zimbabweans.

That such a struggle, to free Zimbabweans from Zimbabweans, has been necessary and that so many people have had to lose their lives in that effort, including during the massacre of August 1, 2018, sharply reveals the ongoing betrayal of the promise of independence in the country.

But the inspiring resilience of the democratic fighting party MDC Alliance has been evident, through internal splits, external violence, infiltration, and death of many of its key leaders, including its founding father Morgan Tsvangirai, who rested in February 2018.

The late Morgan Tsvangirai

The rise of Advocate Nelson Chamisa, as a product of the MDC’s leadership development, and his stolen victory in the 2018 harmonised elections, is also indicative of the party’s future long life and contribution.

Thanks to Chamisa’s leadership, the renaming of the party’s headquarters after its iconic founding president Tsvangirai, will remind everyone of its resilient spirit, its history and its intended future.

In this spirit, a roll of honour must, at some point, adorn MT House to immortalise all heroes of the democratic movement and its struggle for change.

But apart from all these successes and challenges, the biggest service by the MDC has been to the people of Zimbabwe and the country’s hope for a democratic society.

While the current polarisation makes it impossible for some sections of the Zimbabwean nation to acknowledge and celebrate this fact, the formation of the MDC 19 years ago altered the course of Zimbabwe in a positive way.

Comments (1)

Very very true, well articulated.

Baba Mary - 29 October 2018

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