BY BLESSED MHLANGA
AN INTERNECINE fight is brewing over the use of the name MDC ahead of the 2023 general elections, with MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora saying their party was the only legitimate owner and rights holder to the name first used in 1999.
Speaking during a question and answer session on HSTV, an Alpha Media online radio and television platform, Mwonzora said his party was the only legitimate holder of the name MDC.
“I know only one legitimate holder of that name and that is the MDC-T, it is also the legitimate holder of the name MDC Alliance,” Mwonzora said.
“I am not dreaming about this, it is documented. I don’t know what other leaders are going to do, but you are going to find our political party on the ballot paper,” he added.
He told MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to look for a new name for his political party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Our aim is not to stop people from contesting the election; people who want to contest the election must be free to contest an election,” he said.
“People who have formed their own party must have the courage of using the names of their new political parties.”
The MDC has splinted several times since its formation in 1999. In 2005, its split led to the formation of MDC by Welshman Ncube. Later, Job Sikhala formed his MDC99, but none of them were dragged to court over name use.
But Mwonzora said he would deal with anyone who attempted to use the name MDC during an election.
“We are definitely going to be the users of the MDC name because it is in black and white, anybody who wants to steal our name we will deal with that,” he said.
There has been uncertainty in Chamisa’s camp over its continued use of the name MDC Alliance after Mwonzora said the name belongs to his party because it was the party that went into an alliance with the other parties.
MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti has, however, come out saying there was no need to get a new name, but instead, they could ditch the affix Alliance and adopt a Chamisa as the affix.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has, however, said it was more concerned with symbols than party names when accepting nomination papers for the purposes of
The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network has been advocating for laws to register political parties in order to allow regulation for the purposes of determining those entitled to receive public funds.