Will MDC-T take part in the polls?


HERE are the 10 questions which Zimbabweans are asking as they scratch their heads pondering the MDC-T’s bleak future.
– Is the MDC-T political party going to take part in the forthcoming general elections to be held between June and August?
– If they do, who will be their presidential candidate?
– Is it going to be Nelson Chamisa?
– Thokhozani Khupe?
– Or Elias Mudzuri?
– How is the MDC-T party going to resolve their succession fights?
– Through the courts?
– Via an extraordinary congress?
– Through violence?
– Or through splitting?
It is the aim of this article to try and provide answers to the above 10 questions and in the process attempt to make some sense out of the wilderness of confusion that has been created in the MDC-T party by the messy succession war that is presently taking place in that political outfit.
Before we start answering the many questions above, it is important to give a report card on the state of the MDC-T party right now.
Sadly, going through the report card makes one suffer severely.
This report card shows that at the recent burial of the late Morgan Tsvangirai, the legitimate MDC-T vice-president Khupe, the secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary one Bhebhe were almost burnt alive in a hut by the supporters of their opponents within the MDC-T party.
The report card also says Khupe was beaten up in Buhera during that late Tsvangirai’s funeral.
Daily, the above are receiving death threats.
Right now, there is a lot of tension in the MDC-T party with a Mexican stand-off among the main rivals the order of the day.
Nobody knows whether this frightening stand-off will lead to a terrible implosion or worse.
Now let us come back to the 10 questions we have seen at the beginning of this story.
We are going to start with the question whether the MDC-T, as we know it, is going to take part in the forthcoming general elections.
The short answer to that is a soft no. Why a soft no?
The answer to that is that while we are going to see Chamisa and Khupe, among others, taking part as MDC leaders in the coming general elections, they will, however, do so in two separate MDC-Ts.
What we are saying here is that the MDC-T will not participate in the coming elections in its present format but in the form of factions.
Therefore, the MDC-T as we know it today will not take part in the forthcoming elections.
Chamisa will have his own MDC-T taking part while Khupe will also take part with her own version of the MDC-T.
Let us now come to the question of who will be the MDC-T presidential candidate in the general election.
Mwonzora tells us that claims by Chamisa’s supporters that he, Chamisa, is going to be the MDC-T presidential candidate do not hold any drop of water.
The Herald of February 26 2018 says: “Mr D. Mwonzora scoffed at claims by Mr Chamisa that he was the party’s (MDC-T) presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections saying the position was still up for grabs.”
There you are!
The above confirms what we have just said, which is; that during the elections, Chamisa will go his way while Mwonzora and company will go theirs. And so, the MDC-T is very likely to take part in the election under various factions led individually by Chamisa, Khupe and Mudzuri, among others.
We now come to the question: How are the MDC-T factions going to resolve their differences?
Unfortunately, they are not going to resolve their differences at all.
This is because, while on the one hand, Chamisa thinks he is now the undisputed leader of the MDC-T and presidential candidate in the coming elections, on the other hand, the rest of the party leadership such as Mwonzora and Khupe are saying no.
What is clear right now is that the Mwonzora/Khupe group is going to choose their own presidential candidate and will have nothing to do with Chamisa at the elections.
Brushing Chamisa aside, Mwonzora said: “We are going to have a candidate soon.”
As far as Mwonzora is concerned, with the exception of Chamisa, anyone can become the MDC-T presidential candidate in the coming general elections. Therefore, as we have already said, the factions in the MDC-T are not going to resolve their huge differences before the elections.
Which brings us to the courts: Can the courts help?
It is always problematic to try and solve political problems using the courts.
If the MDC-T problems were a pure civil dispute, the Khupe and Mwonzora group would be assured to win in court.
Khupe was the one elected at the last MDC-T congress as vice president while Chamisa was simply handpicked to occupy the position of vice-president by the late Tsvangirai into a position which was not even vacant.
Furthermore, there is no provision in the MDC-T constitution that says the party president can hand pick anyone to succeed him.
And so when it comes to legal matters, Chamisa, who is himself a lawyer, will be found wanting.
While still on legal issues, it does appear that the MDC-T constitution leans in favour of Khupe to take over from the late Tsvangirai since she was the legitimate deputy president of the party at the time of his death.
Therefore, in court, she has greater chances of winning the dispute on who should legally take over from the late Tsvangirai, in the interim, than Chamisa.
However, it is highly dangerous to try and use courts to solve political disputes. It rarely works.
Can the MDC-T factions use an extraordinary congress to resolve their disputes?
No chance!
Nobody in the MDC-T right now appears to have the stomach for a congress —Nobody.
Let us face facts here.
With the way the MDC-T is so heavily divided, no one in that political party wants to go to a congress in case their faction loses.
Therefore, we are not going to see the MDC-T holding a congress before the general elections this year.
If at all a congress is held before the elections, it is going to be a congress of one of the main factions and not one that involves all the factions.
Now, coming to the use of violence to resolve their differences.
More than now, and again, the MDC-T will resort to the use of violence to resolve their differences.
However, this is not going to be sustainable in the long-run because if the violence spills out of control, the state will step in to maintain law and order.
Which brings us to splitting.
The best way for the MDC-T factions to resolve their huge differences is by way of splitting.
Splitting is the best way for the fighting MDC-T factions to end the turmoil in their party peacefully.
Any attempt to force unity will breed violence and chaos.
We can therefore conclude that the MDC-T is not going to take part in the upcoming general elections in their present format.


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