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Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC implodes – thanks to Zanu-PF

By Michelle Chifamba
Posted on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 18:08

MDC
People peer through the windows of the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party after police earlier banned planned protests in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

What is in a name? The rumbling dispute over the proprietary rights to the name – Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – looks set to blow Zimbabwe’s opposition out of the political water.

Activists in Zimbabwe and foreign politicians, such as US senators, see the legal and political fight among the MDC as further weakening the country’s democracy and being orchestrated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

The latest episode, on 17 March, saw six Zimbabwean opposition MPs, including ex-Finance Minister Tendai Biti, being expelled from parliament.

Speaker Jacob Mudenda dismissed the MPs after leaders of a breakaway faction of the MDC said that Biti and his colleagues were no longer members of the party.

Under Zimbabwe law, if an MP leaves the party for which they were elected, they lose their parliamentary seat automatically.