The MDC-T has for many years carried the hope of the majority of Zimbabweans for a better future following Zanu PF’s governance failures, which have run the country aground.
Yet, the infighting that has reportedly broken out and is playing out in the open within the opposition presidium over the possible replacement of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is battling ill-health, could work against both the party and its supporters.
Indeed Zanu PF presidential candidate in the 2018 plebiscite President Robert Mugabe is also battling a raft of illnesses that stalk old age, but he has largely managed to keep the former liberation movement together in spite of the infighting over the soon-to-be 94-year old leader.
Zanu PF is divided into two distinct factions – Team Lacoste, which is sympathetic to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and G40, which is led by First Grace Mugabe, and whose other kingpins are Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Despite the cut-throat fights over Mugabe’s succession, there is no doubt that the former guerrilla leader will likely ride roughshod over the opposition in the forthcoming elections.
As the 2018 elections beckon, it is quite unfortunate that the fight between Tsvangirai’s possible successors, Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe, has diverted attention from efforts to build a strong opposition force ahead of the crucial elections. This is a critical moment when party officials and supporters should set aside their differences and close ranks to fight their common enemy, in this particular case Zanu PF.
We believe personality differences should not be allowed to stand in the way of the common good. There is likely to be a merry-go-round, however, as party officials jostle for power and find ways of positioning themselves for personal gain rather than the bigger picture for the party and the nation.
The MDC-T must bear in mind that the majority Zimbabweans have invested their trust in them, and it would be tragic if they decided to become a shadow of Zanu PF, if not worse.
There is need to reflect on the sacrifices of their many party cadres who lost their lives fighting for the cause of democracy in Zimbabwe. Should their sacrifices be in vain? Could they have died so that those who remained behind engage in personal and selfish battles for power at the expense of the greater good?
The opposition should come out clear on these issues. Tsvangirai should set a good example in terms of succession in his party, as opposed to Mugabe’s murky ways of doing things in favour of the creation of a dynasty.
The opposition will be stronger in unity than when fighting.