By Daniel Chigundu
MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume says the MDC 19th Anniversary celebrations scheduled for Gwanzura Stadium today (27 October 2018) is a time to reflect.
The party was formed in 1999 from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) and has been the most successful opposition party in the country since independence.
In a statement, Mafume said the MDC has gone through a lot in the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe in the past 19 years.
“For 19 years the MDC has fought a valiant fight against tyranny, authoritarianism and dictatorship.
“In this tough struggle, the MDC has gone through serious highs and lows including the deaths of many of its gallant members such as the late doyen of democracy and founding President Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai whom we lost on the 14th of February 2018.
“Our anniversary is thus a key milestone in recognising our greatest achievement, namely surviving 19 years of brutal onslaught by a brutal regime.
“Tomorrow is a day of reflection of the MDC journey and a moment to celebrate the victories of the Zimbabwean people in the past two decades, victories against all odds,” he said
In its journey, the MDC almost won the node to rule the country in 2008 where it outclassed then President Robert Mugabe but failed to get the required 50 percent plus one vote needed by the constitution to form a government.
In 2008 it had a majority in Parliament and its late leader Morgan Tsvangirai became Prime Minister in the Inclusive Government, while its former deputy president Thokozani Khupe was Deputy Prime Minister.
In the last 19 years, the party once split into various political parties such as MDC-99 led by Job Sikhala while Welshman Ncube was leading another MDC faction that was mainly based in Matabeleland before they eventually found each.
In 2016 Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma led a breakaway faction that was calling for MDC leadership renewal but they eventually went separate ways with Biti forming the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Mangoma remaining with MDC Renewal.
Biti, however, re-joined hands with Tsvangirai to form the MDC Alliance.
As part of its achievement, the party managed to have Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of National Assembly something which had never happened since independence.
Its various leaders have been arrested on several occasions and in most cases, the charges would end up being thrown away due to lack of evidence.
For example, the late party leader Tsvangirai faced three cases of treason one in which he was accused of hiring Ari Ben Menashe to assassinate former President Mugabe but the case eventually fell away.
In the 2018 general election, the party gathered together with other opposition parties to form the MDC Alliance let by Nelson Chamisa and came close to winning the Presidential election and the matter had to be concluded through the Constitutional Court.