The political empire that the late former Prime Minister and opposition MDC-T founder Morgan Tsvangirai built has crumbled.
Tsvangirai was daring enough to spearhead the formation of an opposition party in 1999 to challenge the then feared and now late former President Robert Mugabe.
The former trade unionist led the then united MDC to several political ups and downs that include the 2005 split that saw Welshman Ncube leading a breakaway faction.
Since then, the party has been dogged by fights that also saw Job Sikhala leading his MDC99 he dubbed the original MDC while later, other parties namely the Tendai Biti-led MDC Renewal, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) among others came into play.
Speaking on the legacy of Tsvangirai who died on February 14, 2018, his closest confidante and ally Norest Marara, told Business Times that it was sad that what the former trade unionist fought for is now all in flames.
“It is an important day where he was promoted to glory. There is sadness at the same time that what he fought for has been betrayed. Those purporting to be leading the party that he founded have betrayed his legacy. What is happening now in the party is sad,” Marara said.
Marara, who aspires to lead the MDC-T is fighting Douglas Mwonzora in the courts challenging the constitutionality of his rise to power.
MDC-T leader Mwonzora described Tsvangirai as a man of peace who tried to be fair when he contested for the secretary general position against Nelson Chamisa.
“He was a man of peace. He agreed to be Prime Minister when it was unfair to do so as he deserved to be President. When there was a fierce contest for the position of secretary general in 2014, he was fair to Nelson Chamisa and I. He tried to unite us and he has a long lasting legacy,” Mwonzora said.
Chamisa lost the contest but Tsvangirai was to appoint him in 2016 as deputy president together with Elias Mudzuri to join Thokozani Khupe as three of his deputies.
After appointing the two, Tsvangirai led a process to reunite with many others who had ditched his movement including Ncube, Biti, Mangoma, Sikhala among others while also adopting a “big tent” approach that saw him roping in other opposition parties to form a united front against Zanu PF.
However, after his demise in 2018, all efforts crumbled beginning with his funeral that was full of drama as the fight for the control of the MDC-T entered fever pitch.
Chamisa was accused of forcing his way to the top post and unleashing party youths to beat up Khupe and Mwonzora who ended up having a torrid time at Tsvangirai’s Humanikwa village in Buhera in Manicaland province.
In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the appointment of Chamisa and Mudzuri to deputise Tsvangirai was a legal nullity, a judgement interpreted to mean the party revert to its 2014 structures relegating Chamisa to a portfolio secretary.
This was resisted by the Chamisa camp leading to clashes with the Mwonzora camp in a series of events that ultimately led to the formation of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) with Chamisa declaring the new outfit has ceased everything linked to the MDC-T.
Tsvangirai’s family has also ditched the MDC-T with sons Vincent and Collins now linked to Zanu PF.
This has effectively exposed that the opposition party that Tsvangirai together with the late former MDC deputy president Gibson Sibanda, Ncube, founding chairman Lovemore Matongo among others has crumbled.
Probably fallen no more to rise.
The opposition he so much tried to unite has been further divided and weakened as Zimbabwe approaches the 2023 elections with observers saying a weakened opposition is favouring the governing Zanu PF party.