A DANGEROUS narrative being pushed by the Thokozani Khupe-led group that they are the legitimate founding members of the MDC should be challenged strongly, because it is incomplete and, therefore, misleading.
By Chofamba Sithole, Our Reader
While the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) was the biggest social movement behind the formation of the MDC, it certainly wasn’t the only one, nor did its members hold any special founder status over other founding members.
There are many others who can speak to this claim or challenge it, but I do so from my vantage point as a member of the student movement of that time and fully aware of the processes that led to the coalescence of social forces, first as a constitutional reform movement in the National Constitutional Assembly and subsequently as a fully-fledged opposition party called the MDC.
This history is well-trodden terrain, but evidently and precisely because we now have a new generation of voters that was not born or was too young to have known when these events happened, it has become necessary to articulate the narrative of the formation of the democratic opposition movement.
The student movement was not a bystander in the revolutionary ferment of the late 1980s and 90s that culminated in the formation of the MDC. Rather, it was an objective actor in the political dynamics of the time in its own right and deliberately cultivated alliances with other social forces, including labour.
It was no coincidence that the student leadership of the time, some of whom are the late Learnmore Jongwe, Nelson Chamisa, Job Sikhala and Tafadzwa Musekiwa found themselves in the leadership of the MDC — they had earned their stripes as leaders of a vibrant student movement that had for years provided de facto opposition, alongside labour and other social forces, to the one-party government of Zanu PF.
I am calling out Khupe, Douglas Mwonzora, Morgen Komichi and others to pursue their political ambitions without trying to rewrite history with the sole purpose of winning the current battle against their erstwhile colleagues, who happen to come from the student movement wing of the MDC.
You don’t have to trash the role of other social movements in the formation of the opposition movement to advance your power ambitions. It is both silly and disingenuous and completely unsustainable.
We, from the students side, have our own history of the struggle and also of our leadership within the democratic movement, which the MDC base fondly remembers, going back to the roots of this movement when Jongwe, Sikhala and Chamisa lit up the masses in ways that only Morgan Tsvangirai could surpass.