Zimbabwe’s opposition party, MDC-T, collapsed under Mwonzora’s leadership

From Hope to Desolation: The Decline of Zimbabwe's MDC-T

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s once vibrant opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T), has been reduced to a shadow of its former self after a series of political blunders by its leader, Douglas Mwonzora.

Mwonzora took over the party’s reins in December 2020 following a disputed congress marred by allegations of vote-rigging and violence. He was backed by the judiciary and the security forces, who helped him evict his rival, Nelson Chamisa, from the party headquarters in Harare.

Since then, Mwonzora has been accused of being a puppet of the ruling Zanu-PF party; he has failed to provide a credible alternative to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government. He has also alienated many of his supporters and allies, who have defected to other parties or boycotted his activities.

The final nail in the coffin for MDC-T came in September 2021, when Mwonzora announced that he was withdrawing from the presidential race, citing an uneven playing field and electoral irregularities. He also complained that 87 of his candidates were disqualified from contesting parliamentary seats due to payment glitches.

However, analysts say that Mwonzora was facing a humiliating defeat by both Zanu-PF and the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a new opposition alliance led by Chamisa. The CCC won 103 seats in the National Assembly, becoming the official opposition in Parliament.

Among the new entrants is Richard Tsvangirai, the son of the late Morgan Tsvangirai, who founded the MDC in 1999 and challenged Mugabe for over a decade. Other young and dynamic leaders, such as Fadzayi Mahere, Gift Siziba and Clifford Hlatshwayo, join him.

Meanwhile, most of Mwonzora’s close associates, such as Elias Mudzuri, Murisi Zwizwai, and Morgen Komichi, failed to secure parliamentary seats. The only consolation for Mwonzora is that he still retains his Senate seat but with little influence or relevance.

The demise of MDC-T under Mwonzora’s leadership marks a sad end to a party that once inspired hope and change in Zimbabwe. The legacy of Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in 2018 after a long battle with cancer, has been tarnished by his successor’s actions.

Whether CCC can sustain its momentum and challenge Zanu-PF’s dominance in the next elections, scheduled for 2025 remains to be seen.

Source: News Day

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