‘Khupe, Chamisa quarrel must end’…Mudzuri says without this, real talks with ED can’t happen
MDC bigwig, Elias Mudzuri, says the mindless bloodletting consuming the party is making it difficult for the opposition to engage with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF meaningfully, to help end Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mudzuri — a former Cabinet minister during the short-lived, but stability-inducing 2009 government of national unity (GNU) — also implored MDC interim leader Thokozani Khupe and her rival Nelson Chamisa to end their futile brawl.
This comes as Khupe’s interim MDC leadership has said that it is willing to form another GNU with Zanu PF, to extricate the country from its decades-long political and economic crises. Mudzuri asserted that it was
imperative that Khupe and Chamisa healed their rift first, before the opposition could gainfully seek to engage
ED and Zanu PF.
“As senior leaders in the MDC, we need to sit down and talk. Everyone must accept his or her weaknesses, and we must tell each other the truth.
“Unity is the best way forward … we cannot continue fighting like this. We are one family, we worked together for 20 years and it’s easy for us to work together again. In Shona they say mukanetsana siyai peukama.
“Building unity is a process and it’s not a one day thing. I think before 2023 we will talk together and find common ground,” Mudzuri told the Daily News.
“We need to understand each other because we cannot engage Zanu PF while we are failing to unite as MDC. “So, there is a need to talk to each other before we engage Zanu PF. At the moment the opposition is divided. So, Zanu PF will take advantage of that.
“We must be able to talk to Zanu PF because we are all Zimbabweans and we must build this country together. “Factionalism must end so that we work to build our party. As Zimbabweans, we must work to build strong government institutions,” Mudzuri further told the Daily News.
This comes as Khupe and Chamisa have been engaged in a futile but vicious fight over control of the MDC. The fight started after the death of the MDC’s much-loved founding father, Morgan Tsvangirai — who died of cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
The power struggles intensified following a recent Supreme Court ruling which upheld last year’s High Court judgment which nullified Chamisa’s leadership of the MDC.
Meanwhile, political analysts reiterated yesterday that MDC rival leaders had pressed the “self-destruct” button over the past few months, and now needed to set aside their differences ahead of the 2023 elections in their own interest.
“MDC is the one which is too weak to engage Zanu PF. They made their bed and they must lie on it.
“On another note, all the opposition parties and civic groups must engage Zanu PF to find a lasting solution on the issues bedevilling the country. “A soloist approach will not assist, but further entrench polarised and toxic politics. Such politics don’t add value to people’s lives,” Namibia-based analyst, Admire Mare, told the Daily News.
A senior consultant at the International Crisis Group (ICG), Piers Pigou, also said there was need for
unity within the opposition ranks. “A united position that goes beyond the politics of personalities between and within MDC political formations would be a relief. “But the MDC must submit itself to a broader, more inclusive collective will, although this doesn’t seem likely at this juncture,” Pigou told the Daily News.
At the beginning of this month, the interim MDC leadership led by Khupe announced plans to hold talks with Mnangagwa and Zanu PF over another inclusive government — similar to the 2009 arrangement
which came about after the hotlydisputed 2008 elections.
Long-suffering Zimbabweans, who have fond memories of that unity government, and who are reeling from the country’s current economic crisis, have also urged both Mnangagwa and Khupe to seriously consider another GNU — to help improve people’s lives.
“We want talks that will culminate in a mechanism that will alleviate the people’s suffering like we did in 2008 when the suffering had become unbearable.
“We negotiated and came up with a GNU. So, the same is necessary now. Whatever name you give to the platform — GNU, National Transitional Authority or anything else — must be an outcome of a negotiation.
“What is key is that, as a party our ambition is not to take over the State presidency, but to make sure that we work towards the improvement of our people’s lives,” acting MDC chairman Morgen Komichi told the Daily News earlier this month.
“People are suffering. There are no jobs, incomes are very low and we cannot continue like this,” he added.
On his part, interim secretary general Douglas Mwonzora hinted
that the MDC had already put in motion plans to hold talks with Zanu PF, with regards to the mooted GNU.
“As the MDC, ever since we were formed (in 1999), we have always been for dialogue. We think that Zimbabwe’s problems can be resolved through dialogue.
“The problems of this country cannot be resolved through confrontation, acrimony, rancour and violence. “So, yes, when the time comes, when the internal process is done and when our consultations are completed, you will see us calling for dialogue,” Mwonzora told the Daily News.
“There is enough historical evidence in this country to show that most of the problems and big issues are resolved through dialogue.
“The liberation war ended with dialogue. The Gukurahundi in Matabeleland ended when Zapu and Zanu completed that Unity Accord.
“In 2008, after Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai, we engaged in dialogue to resolve that national question. “We will be always for dialogue, but internal processes will have to be done first,” Mwonzora further told the Daily News.
Last month, Khupe also appeared to give a hint about the mooted talks when she said she was ready to engage in dialogue with Mnangagwa “to improve the livelihoods of 14,6 million Zimbabweans”.
In 2009, the late former president Robert Mugabe was forced into a GNU with Tsvangirai, after the hotlydisputed 2008 polls. The short-lived GNU was subsequently credited with stabilising the country’s economy which had imploded in the run-up to those elections.
In those polls, Tsvangirai beat Mugabe hands down. However, the results were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities — amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later revealed by former bigwigs of the ruling Zanu PF.
In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed — forcing the former prime minister to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.
Mugabe went on to stand in an embarrassing and widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.