MDC-T Feud: A Classic Repeat of Political History

Harare — The battle to control the levers at the MDC-T headquarters have reached a point of no return, with current president Nelson Chamisa losing an urgent court application against his nemesis Thokozani Khupe to stop her from using the party's name and logo. 

However, the ongoing feud is not new to the opposition camp. Since its inception in 1999, the MDC has a history of splitting for various reasons. 

It all began in 2005, when then secretary general Welshman Ncube and others formed another MDC, as they differed with leader, Morgan Tsvangirai over participation in Senate elections.

In 2014, another split occurred when then MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma pulled out of the party to form MDC Renewal which later split into two groups.
Feuding Parties: Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe

One formation was led by Biti, which became People’s Democratic Party and another led by Mangoma, called Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe. The PDP has also further split into two with the new splinter group being led by Lucia Matibenga.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere dismissed with costs an urgent application by Chamisa's faction, saying the case was not urgent, while this is not the first time this has happened in the opposition ranks. 

Khupe’s attorney, Lovemore Madhuku, stated his happiness with the outcome of the case, while he is also representing Khupe in a court case in which the former deputy prime minister is challenging her removal from parliament by the Chamisa faction.

MDC-T attorney Lucas Nkomo said he may take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Adv Chamisa was endorsed as the leader by the party’s national council, but Dr Khupe has refused to recognise him, arguing the organ that endorsed him had no such powers according to the party’s constitution.

The history of factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF party is as old as the party itself.

Even though the ruling Zanu-PF party has faced internal differences, it has largely remained intact, though some of the members were dismissed. 

Factionalism became more pronounced in the 1990s when Zanu PF was torn between factions loyal to Emmerson Mnangagwa and retired army general Solomon Mujuru (now late).

Before his death, Mujuru had masterminded his wife’s ascendancy to the position of vice president ahead of Mnangagwa. But after his death, his wife became exposed to Zanu PF hawks who schemed her ouster in 2014.

Immediately after Mujuru’s ouster, another faction, G40, emerged to fight Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste between 2014 and mid November last year when the military, under Chiwenga, stepped in to annihilate G40.

The re-emergence of factions in the ruling party is among early signs of discord in the new administration. Another highlight of the divisions came to the fore when the leadership clashed over the firing of at least 30 senior cops.

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