Law suit threatens unity efforts

It is unfortunate that elements within the opposition MDC (Mutambara) have decided to proceed with the defamation lawsuit against Morgan Tsvangirai, founder President of the MDC. This is following Tsvangirai's address to the Harare-based diplomats where it is alleged that he defam

ed some of the Mutambara faction leaders by claiming that they were working in cahoots with Zanu (PF) to kill him.
Recent efforts to bring the two factions together are likely to be derailed by the legal action. To date, only Gift Chimanikire, who has since defected to the Tsvangirai faction, is known to have dropped the charges.
It is obviously the right of each and every Zimbabwean to approach the courts of law for redress when they feel aggrieved. The Mutambara faction leaders are therefore entitled to proceed with the matter before the courts. Unfortunately, this is bound to make it more difficult for the two factions to consider re-uniting in the face of the ill-fated Thabo Mbeki mediation efforts and the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. The fact that the courts are likely to set the trial dates soon basically means that re-unification efforts will have to be stalled until the courts reach some decision on the matter.
What may be the best way forward is for the two factions to agree to differ, and completely sever all ties forthwith. While this will be unfortunate in relation to the need for a strong and united opposition party, it is probably the only way that the current seesaw can be brought to an end, and people are able to make decisions with regard to which of the two factions they prefer to support in the forthcoming elections.
Although we have seen several Mutambara faction supporters defect to the Tsvangirai faction, we are still to experience the reverse of this action. In other words, there has not been any defection from the Tsvangirai to the Mutambara faction in the MDC, to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps a clean break up will motivate some of the members of the opposing factions to be more decisive in this regard.
I know that there will be some readers of this column who will criticise me for advocating a clear cut break up or kiss and make up between the two factions, but I am rather thick skinned and will not take offence with such readers.
It is quite clear to me, for example, that quite a few of the Mutambara faction members will lose their seats in the 2008 elections if the current impasse between the two factions is not resolved, and if the Tsvangirai faction decides to field candidates in all contestable seats throughout the country.
For example, it is inconceivable that the MDC supporters in Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s constituency would vote for her if she insists on remaining in the Mutambara faction of the MDC. It would be unfortunate for such a dynamic legislator to lose her parliamentary seat at this stage in the political development of this devastated country.
My advice to the Mutambara faction leaders is that they should drop the charges they are levelling against Morgan Tsvangirai in the interest of MDC unity and national resistance to the evil infested Zanu (PF) and Robert Mugabe.
Naturally, Tsvangirai has denied ever saying the things he is alleged to have said, and is not bothered about the case proceeding to trial in the courts. The point to make here is that whatever verdict the courts may reach will have a negative impact on the MDC’s unity prospects. Zimbabweans are certainly some of the most litigious bunch of democracy-starved people on the African continent.

Post published in: Opinions

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