The Nelson Chamisa-led opposition MDC Alliance has defiantly vowed that they were not going to drop their name despite indications that the MDC-T under Thokozani intends to adopt the MDC Alliance name in future elections.
On Saturday, while marking the 21st year since the original MDC was born, Khupe’s national chairperson and former Chamisa ally Morgen Komichi said their party had decided to use the MDC Alliance name in future polls, including the forthcoming by-elections, some of which are set to be conducted next month.
The latest developments have seen a number of allies in the Chamisa camp suggesting that the quadragenarian dumps the MDC-A name and rebrand to avoid clashing with the Khupe formation.
The MDC-A is yet to register its name with the national polls’ governing, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
In apparent disregard of the aforementioned problems, MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the embattled opposition was going to cling on to their party name.
“The party restates that it is the MDC Alliance party. It contested the 2018 election as the MDC Alliance,” Mahere wrote in a communique released after a national executive council meeting held at the weekend.
“As the alternative, it has MPs in Parliament and councillors in local authorities. It has been victimized as the MDC Alliance and will win as the MDC Alliance. It will remain the MDC Alliance,” she said.
Various opinion leaders and political commentators have previously suggested that the Chsmisa camp dumps the MDC Alliance brand and use another completely different name.
UK-based constitutional lawyer and academic, Alex Magaisa, who at one time described the MDC Alliance name as ‘toxic’, said he saw this coming.
“What has just happened should not shock anyone who has been following the MDC saga. It was foreseeable and it was written. The most important question is the response, which should be ready,” Magaisa said.
“There has never been a better time to demonstrate that people do not vote for party names,” he said.
Another Zimbabwean lawyer living in the UK, Brighton Mutebuka, said Chamisa’s MDC-A was financially incapacitated to effect a name change.
“Changing a name requires huge funding and Chamisa lost the political parties funding to Khupe. Any new name will have to be explained to the electorate and that needs a mass media campaign as well as countrywide rallies. The time and funds for that are both not available,” Mutebuka said.
Commenting on the same matter, pro-opposition activist Piers Pigou said it was incumbent upon Chsmisa that he avoids being reactive and be proactive for the betterment of his opposition party.
“Next step of what constitutes a major hijacking of the main opposition, MDC Alliance by a small group of ‘leaders’ who claim to represent huge numbers of Zimbabweans that never voted for them. Chamisa (and) his crew are behind the curve in reactive mode. Time for a major rebranding?” said Pigou.
But Freeman Chari, another activist does not subscribe to a school of thought backing changing the party name.
“I don’t agree with rebranding. The purpose is clear. To suffocate and annihilate. Whatever Chamisa does they will still come after him. They will come after even his wife and kids. Focus on the game,” he said.
“As long as the military is ruling elections are useless. Focus on pressure!” Chari said.
Reacting to the move by the MDC-T, political commentator Pedzisayi Ruhanya as ‘foolish puppets’ who were being used by the Emmerson Mnangagwa regime.
additional reporting: Zwnews