HARARE – A fawning clique in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC is reportedly pushing for the adoption of his face as a party symbol “for elections purposes only”.
The move is not only likely to plunge the 13-year-old movement into unnecessary divisions, but also borders on deification of the MDC leader, analysts said this week.
Douglas Mwonzora, the party’s spokesperson, on Monday confirmed to the Daily News that an MDC national executive committee (Nec) had toyed with the idea of the PM’s face as a national emblem as opposed to the hand or open palm of a child.
“The party’s election symbol has not been finalised. The MDC Nec rejected the idea of using the child on the open palm symbol because it currently serves as the symbol for the youth assembly.” said Mwonzora.
“We will come up with an emblem that will distinguish our party from other parties that are using the open palm symbol. The Prime Minister’s face is one of the suggestions we are considering as a distinguishing mark but I must hasten to assure our supporters and Zimbabweans in general that the open palm is not going anywhere. It is for the purpose of the elections only. We already have four MDCs all using the open palm. It is ok with literate voters but with rural voters it is very difficult.”
“MDC’s open palm will remain but there will be finer details to it that will be made available once the Nec has agreed to the new emblem we are working on,” he said.
The coterie of kow-towing officials commonly referred to as the “kitchen cabinet” is reported to have vetoed the move that should have seen the MDC adopting a child onto the open palm in Bulawayo last weekend.
“They bulldozed the National Executive Committee into rejecting the agreed position that was set for adoption to take the youth assembly symbol of the child’s open palm as the party’s official emblem,” a highly-placed insider told the Daily News.
But Mwonzora shot this down.
“Ours was a unanimous decision not to use the youth assembly symbol. The open palm is in the party’s constitution as our official symbol alongside the logo which cannot just be changed. These are part of the party’s history and future.
“We realised we could run into legal problems if we use the child hence the decision not to use it,” Mwonzora said.
Mwonzora told reporters in Bulawayo on the sidelines of the party’s 13th anniversary celebrations that the MDC would unveil a new symbol to clear confusion among voters and controversy over the open palm symbol which it shares with the MDC led by Welshman Ncube.
“We want to distinguish ourselves from others that want to copy our symbol for electoral expediency. Although we will continue to use the open palm, the only difference is that we will use a symbol of a small child to represent the future, love, likeability and innocence,” Mwonzora said.
Tsvangirai’s “kitchen cabinet” has been accused of torpedoing the party’s constitution to enable the former trade unionist to remain at the helm “until the party gets into power”.