A senior MDC-M Bulawayo provincial member is engaged in efforts to reunite the two MDC parties ahead of possible elections in 2011.
Garry Ferguson, a prominent medical practitioner, who is also a Bulawayo city councillor, is also seeking to bring Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa to join the reunification negotiations.
Ferguson told NewsDay he had been trying to engage the top leadership in the MDC-T, MDC-M, as well as Dabengwa.
Officials in the two MDCs however said the distance the two parties have to travel before they can reach electoral pacts was still long.
Ferguson said he was jolted into action by reports that Zanu PF was pushing for elections early next year.
“The split in the MDC undoubtedly lost the last general election. With a further election pending, the fragmented party must be united,” he said.
At the end of the Zanu PF congress held in Mutare over the weekend, the party, among other things resolved to end the inclusive government with an election early next year.
Critics of President Robert Mugabe’s party, among them the two MDC parties and the civic community, have always argued the conditions were not yet conducive for a free and fair election that will yield legitimate results.
Fergusson said, no matter what the reasons for the split were, the leaders should put national interest ahead of personal egos.
“This is a time for statesmanship and the aspiring leaders must forgo their personal ambitions and mutually agree on who will take us forward.
“I appeal to the party’s leaders for a mutual agreement to reunite the party,” he said.
The councilor said the former ruling party, Zanu PF, was grateful to the opposition for the split and knows that in the next election it may sneak in through it.
Spokespersons for MDC-T, MDC-M and Zapu however all agreed with Ferguson’s initiative on the need for unity but pointed out challenges.
MDC-T spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, said his party has always advocated for unity of the opposition forces in the country.
“We have always said forces of light, hope and progress have to come together and neutralize, if not eliminate, forces of darkness. The forces of darkness are represented by Zanu PF and the forces of lights are represented by the MDC-T and other progressive forces.
“The next election is a very simple choice between hope and doom. Hope represented by the progressive forces and doom by Zanu PF. It is a choice between the future and the past. The future represented by progressive forces and the past by Zanu PF,” he said.
Chamisa could not be drawn into revealing if, outside calling for unity from rally podiums, his party will take any concrete steps to approach other opposition parties with a proposition for unity.
MDC-M spokesperson, Edwin Mushoriwa, said his party has always been for unity between opposition forces but had been snubbed before.
“I think history will tell you that we are the only party in the last elections that wanted to see a united opposition. We had an agreement with MDC-T, which, in the eleventh hour, they decided to pull out of. We had an understanding with Mavambo. We were the only party that not only spoke about unity but acted on it even though we got a kick on the face for it,” he said.
Mushoriwa said there are, however, some challenges to unite in the parties.
“Having a united front maybe good but the danger is that we cannot have a united front unless people have the same vision. You cannot just say people unite when you know that the people you want to unite with have been working clandestinely to destroy you,” he said.
Zapu spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo, said unity was very important among opposition parties but should go beyond the desire to defeat President Robert Mugabe.
“We have always been for unity but what we want is for people to realize that if some parties start imagining that they are big, then there will be a problem. All opposition parties are small that is why they are not in power. Zapu is for unity but that unity must be based on mutual respect and realise that we have issues that are specific to each party,”he said.