MDC: End of an era

Source: MDC: End of an era –Newsday Zimbabwe

SEPTEMBER remains significant in the MDC as the party was conceived in this ninth month of the year before making an instant impact on the Zimbabwean political landscape.

Then led by firebrand trade unionist, the late Morgan Tsvangirai, with its pillars pitched in labour, students and business, the MDC garnered 57 seats in the 2000 parliamentary elections, hardly a year after its formation.

Contesting with the once feared former President Robert Mugabe (now late), it was never a stroll in the park for Tsvangirai who saw hundreds of his party supporters tortured, detained and killed, but never looked back.

He reached the apex of his political career with a Prime Minister’s seat in the Government of National Unity that ran from 2009 to 2013.

Having survived several splits, internal squabbles and succession fights since its formation in 1999, this September, precisely on Thursday, new Members of Parliament were sworn in and for the first time in the party’s history, not a single MDC MP was part of the ceremony.

With the help of the Judiciary and security agents, Douglas Togaraseyi Mwonzora took over custody of the keys to Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House after the disputed party congress two years earlier and has since then, been leading the party into the grave.

He has been described as the MDC’s undertaker, who took the once vibrant opposition movement into abyss.

As if he had concluded the MDC’s annihilation, Mwonzora withdrew from the presidential race, citing an uneven electoral field tilted in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

But observers said the sly political actor was facing imminent defeat at the hands of Zanu PF and the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), hence his strategic retreat.

Mwonzora also protested the disqualification of 87 of his aspiring legislators.

The aspiring candidates had their nomination papers rejected by the poll management authority following payment glitches on electronic bank transactions.

As Tsvangirai’s MDC is now dead as a dodo, CCC now boasts being the official opposition in Parliament.

Its new entrants include Tsvangirai’s son Richard, Fadzayi Mahere, Gift “Ostallos” Siziba and Clifford Hlatshwayo, among others, who are part of the 103 to occupy opposition seats in the National Assembly.

Almost all of Tsvangirai’s close allies find themselves not in Parliament and they include Elias Mudzuri, Murisi Zwizwai and Morgen Komichi.

With the national election done and dusted, there are several members of the National Assembly from the Ninth Session of Parliament that will not be joining the new faces at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, on the outskirts of Harare despite a stellar performance in the Ninth Parliament.

They were the anchors of heated debates in Parliament and breathed life to the august House each time the ambers appeared to have cooled down.

On the Zanu PF side stood Dexter Nduna, a controversial politician, whose entry into Parliament was shrouded in controversy in 2018 when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission erroneously announced him the winner when he was not.

Despite the loss, Nduna remained a lawmaker for the next five years.

He would stand up to demonstrate his wide comprehension of English vocabularies before making his issue about Chegutu West.

“Madam Speaker, my heart is on the right side on this matter with the people of Chegutu West. When it comes to issues to do with effective and efficient utilisation of the resources that we have to get energy, my ear is on the right side,” he would always say.

Nduna would also project an image of being a messenger and would say: “The people send their love”.

Then there was Joseph Chinotimba, representing the people of Buhera South constituency.

He became famous for his inclination towards the vernacular Shona language.

His two terms in the National Assembly were punctuated by jokes and was famed for raising issues of national importance.

When the opposition CCC MPs came into Parliament for the first time, they wore yellow ties, and the objection came from none other than Chinotimba complaining that the MPs were in breach of Parliament regulations by wearing their party regalia.

As a result, the yellow colour became literally an illegal colour in Parliament.

The biggest shock from the elections is the loss of Temba Mliswa, the vociferous independent politician who brought life to the Ninth Parliament with robust contributions.

Mliswa lost the Norton parliamentary seat to the CCC’s Richard, who is one of the youngest legislators.

He was the only independent candidate in the Fifth Session of the Ninth Parliament and was very vocal about the welfare of parliamentarians and Zimbabweans in general.

Mliswa also had his fair share of expulsions, usually from heated sessions.

Firebrand politician Tendai Biti will also be missed for his incisive contribution on economic matters.

History and political science students will never forget Mwonzora’s hand in authoring this chapter of history — writing the epitaph of the MDC-T.

The only solace for the MDC brand is that the founder’s son, Richard, is in Parliament, albeit as a CCC member.

Tsvangirai’s other son, Vincent, has called it quits, frustrated with the MDC-T politics.