IT is now a bare-knuckles or hand-to-hand fratricidal combat in the imploding MDC-T as fierce political rivals who for years have been working in the shadows plotting against each other have finally abandoned all pretence to line up according to their factions in a battle likely to have a devastating impact on the country’s biggest opposition party and possibly change dynamics on Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
The Zimbabwe Independent this week set out to further understand the internal dynamics of the MDC-T and causes of the current infighting triggered by suspended deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma’s daring demand that founding party leader Morgan Tsvangirai must now go because of a string of political failures and private life indiscretions which have rendered him a liability, while eroding his legacy.
Party insiders say the MDC-T has been a volcano waiting to erupt for a long time. After years of distrust, tensions and undeclared wars, the magma is finally erupting as the volatile lava spreads across the party and political landscape with potentially disastrous consequences.
The root causes of the problem appear to be ideological, lack of leadership and factionalism, over and above the party’s failures to capture power and last year’s heavy general elections defeat which has left the MDC-T in disarray.
Political analysts and party insiders say the problems in the MDC-T can be traced back to its formation in 1999. The party was formed as a broad church encompassing a wide range of groups and opinions.
It was an eclectic mix of trade unionists, academics, professionals, farmers, students and civil society activists, among others, who all had different interests and expectations other than the common objective of removing President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power. In other words, it was largely a protest movement.
Its members had different reasons why Mugabe must be removed.
Constituent interest groups also did not seem to agree ideologically – on what set of beliefs their political and economic system should be based on.
Although the ideological differences were managed at the beginning, they were to later fuel the expulsion of leftists like Munyaradzi Gwisai and others. AllAfrica