AN implosion of the main opposition MDC-T could signal the death knell for Zimbabwe’s fledgling democracy, hence the party’s leadership should expend more effort in finding a solution to the leadership crisis, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has said.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The ZCC, in a statement, said it was alarmed at the escalation of internal conflict within the opposition party. The MDC-T has been rocked by a vicious internal power struggle pitting its three deputy presidents Thokozani Khupe, Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa, while party leader Morgan Tsvangirai battles colon cancer in a South African hospital.
“As we made a statement before, concerning the state of affairs in the ruling party Zanu PF prior to and after the events of November 15, 2017, so also have we deemed it necessary to exhort the opposition to handle their affairs in a more responsible manner.
“We believe that the presence of a united ruling party in Zanu PF and united opposition political parties like the MDC-T will enrich our democracy and bring vitality to our national politics, thus empowering our people to believe again in value-based, forward-looking, problem-solving and progressive politics that works for the good of the people,” the church group said.
Zanu PF was also rocked by a succession struggle that culminated in a military intervention in November that forced then President Robert Mugabe to resign under duress before current party leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over the reins.
The ZCC, while acknowledging that it was not within its mandate to dictate to parties how they should run their affairs, said it felt obliged to implore warring leaders to find solutions amicably, given the possible impact of an MDC-T implosion on the country’s socio-political landscape.
“However, recognising the MDC-T as a public and national entity whose rise and fall may have implications for the cohesion of our society, we urgently call upon you to be reconciled to one another since the existence of a united and viable opposition is necessary as a check and inspiration to the ruling party, a condition which is needful to the thriving of a society organised on the basis of a democratic multi-party system,” the churches council said, adding the MDC-T was a key factor in elections expected later this year and “the internal health of key democratic institutions such as the opposition party is of great importance to the nation”.
The MDC-T was formed, according to the ZCC, as a result of calls by different group to fight repression in Zimbabwe and the party’s splits in the past had been a disappointment to the generality of Zimbabweans.
An MDC-T implosion could result in the establishment of a one-party State in Zimbabwe, the ZCC warned, arguing the party’s leadership owed it to citizens to unite.
“Zimbabwe risks sliding into a one-party-State, a situation in which there will be weak checks and balances against possible abuse of power and authority by those in authority.
“Without recovering this democratic vision, citizens will have limited choices upon which to exercise their right to vote and local structures bear the collateral damage of the decisions of those at the top,” the ZCC said.
The original MDC split into two in 2005, before other splits that have resulted in the formation of other fringe political outfits.