Political observers have urged under-siege opposition leader Nelson Chamisa not to give up on the MDC Alliance name, saying doing so would provide his nemeses Zanu PF and the MDC-T ammunition to crush him ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
Chamisa has remained tight-lipped on which name the party will use in the March 26 by-elections after the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T claimed ownership of both the MDC Alliance name and MDC acronym.
Mwonzora early this month wrote to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) seeking to bar Chamisa from using MDC symbols.
Exiled former Zanu PF politburo member and Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo insisted that Chamisa’s party was the rightful owner of the MDC Alliance title.
Moyo accused Mwonzora of being “more familiar with Mnangagwa’s State House than any law” and a beneficiary of the Zanu PF leader’s chicanery since March 31, 2020 when the Supreme Court declared Chamisa’s leadership of MDC illegitimate.
“No one needs to be a lawyer to know that the 2017 MDC Alliance was not a political party, but a pre-2018 election alliance meant to become a post-2018 election coalition government, had the pre-election alliance won the 2018 poll. The 2017 MDC Alliance was thus only a pre-2018 election alliance,” Moyo tweeted.
“Agreements have duration. The 2017 MDC Alliance pre-2018 election agreement did not mutate into a post-2018 election coalition government, because the pre-2018 election alliance (MDC Alliance) did not win the 2018 election. As such, the 2017 pre-election (MDC Alliance) agreement expired in 2018.
“Since 2018, no pre-election alliance agreement has been entered into by MDC-T with any party for 2022 by-elections or 2023 elections or any elections. The MDC-T cannot use an expired 2018 agreement, which was never renewed, for 2022 by-elections or 2023 elections. No.”
“Finally, one needs not hold a brief for Chamisa to realise that his MDC is not connected to the 2017 MDC Alliance pre-2018 election agreement nor to any pre-election alliance. It is a political party in its own right formed in 2019 and is entitled to its full rights.”
Another analyst Rashweat Mukundu said Chamisa had little to lose if he pressed ahead with the name MDC Alliance without bowing to pressure from Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
“So instead of him exposing more of his cards at the moment, I think it is better that he (Chamisa) and his colleagues maintain their position that the MDC Alliance name belongs to them and see how Mwonzora, Zanu PF, the courts and Zec respond. He has to take the war to Zanu PF and whatever happens the real battle is in 2023.”
But renowned political analyst Eldred Masunungure said it was not logical for Chamisa to remain quiet over the MDC Alliance name war.
“He probably needs to respond if only to assure and reassure his supporters that he is aware of the developments and attempts by the MDC-T to usurp the MDC Alliance name,” he said, adding that keeping quiet confused his supporters and interested stakeholders.
“When he keeps quiet, it confuses the supporters and he needs to spell that in order for them to be certain that the MDC Alliance will remain the MDC Alliance or he adopts a new name or rebrand or some other corrective action.”
“It is untenable for him to perpetually keep quiet on matters of strategic importance to the party and its supporters. We are only two weeks away from the nomination court and we don’t know what is up the sleeves of Chamisa and his support base needs to know what is going on in the MDC Alliance and he has to come forward to allay any fears in the party.”
Political analyst Mlungisi Moyo said Chamisa had long lost the MDC acronym to his rivals.
“He surrendered the party name a long time back. He also surrendered the party assets held under the MDC name. Although there was litigation, the moment he lost the court battle over the control of the party, surrendered party assets and decided to resort to social media, it was confirmation that he had conceded defeat,” Moyo said.
“To then turn around and claim the party name when a by-election is coming only goes to show confusion over establishing an identity. It is clearly a show of confusion. He is failing to rebrand himself if whatever was obtained on social media is to go by. This was the time to exhibit a new name, and test whether the brand works or not.”
Cornered by his supporters on social media to reveal his game plan over the party name, Chamisa curtly said: “Don’t even worry. We are a lot smarter. Be comforted. We have a beautiful plan in place.”
He told NewsDay that Mwonzora had proved to be a “snake” given his “treacherous acts”, but declined to disclose his immediate plans with regards to the party name.Newsday.