The death of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year could not have come at a worse time as the country prepared for the crunch 2018 general elections.
The MDC Alliance had chosen him as their presidential candidate and his passing on created a yawning gap that could turn out to be a big problem for the coalition.
Within his own MDC party, Tsvangirai’s death ignited a fierce succession debate that has engulfed the whole party which should instead be concentrating on its election campaign.
Since his death and even in his advanced illness, divisions rocked the biggest opposition party in the country, hence throwing spanners into an otherwise promising election contest.
The bitter rift between former MDC vice presidents Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe will spoil the MDC vote come elections.
And as other political parties campaign and prepare for the next poll, we have an MDC that is torn apart — taking turns to expel each other from party, Parliament and dragging each other to the courts.
Mind you, court processes never come cheap, they are so expensive as you have to hire legal teams to fight your cause, hence the MDC faction leaders are wasting the meagre resources they have at such a crucial time.
Apart from being expensive, court cases are exhaustive and take away one’s precious time as you have to prepare legal arguments and attend court sessions.
It is sad this is happening now!
A united MDC could indeed give the ruling Zanu PF party a hiding but with the squabbles in the party, which can spill into elections, their chances are fast diminishing.
Time is not on the MDC side — for Chamisa or Khupe — and the sooner they find each other, the better because the cards are oddly placed on their tables.
It is always good to share power when you have it and the two leaders seem not to agree on this because they have to wrestle power from Zanu PF first.
The court cases may not end soon and just last week Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere reserved judgment to Tuesday next week in a case in which acting MDC chairperson Morgen Komichi is suing Khupe and her allies over the use of the party’s name and logo.
On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has confirmed that Khupe has already registered with them her party, the MDC, for the 2018 elections. That’s another problem that will require legal redress.
In another matter, Khupe has filed a Constitutional Court application challenging her expulsion from Parliament by the MDC. This is another case that will drag on as Khupe has also written to Parliament recalling Chamisa.
And while the MDC circus unfolds, its party members — who are the voters — are left confused and remain in the dark.
Khupe still claims she is the legitimate MDC acting president until the party’s extraordinary congress this month that is set to choose “constitutionally” Tsvangirai’s replacement.
In all this confusion, the biggest beneficiary is turning out to be the ruling Zanu PF which, although it has its own internal problems, seems to have an edge as it has a clear presidential candidate.
The MDC Alliance has to be alive to the fact that the late Tsvangirai was their point person, their coalition’s face and members identified with him.
The MDC voter down in rural outposts had been used to Tsvangirai’s image on the ballot paper — how much has the Alliance invested in shaping Chamisa and making his followers believe he is the point man?