Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai

Movement for Democratic Change
Leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Founded 1999 (1999)
Headquarters Harvest House, 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe
Youth wing MDC Youth Assembly
Ideology Social democracy,
Left-wing nationalism
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International,[1]
Progressive Alliance
Colours Red and black
House of Assembly
49 / 210
21 / 93
Pan African Parliament
2 / 5
Party flag

The Movement for Democratic Change Zimbabwe (MDCZ), commonly known as Movement for Democratic Change Zimbabwe - Tsvangirai (MDC-T) is a political party and currently the main opposition party in the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe. It is the main formation formed from the split of the original Movement for Democratic Change in 2005.



The Movement for Democratic Change was founded in 1999 as an opposition party to the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party led by President Robert Mugabe. The MDC was formed from members of the broad coalition of civic society groups and individuals that campaigned for a "No" vote in the 2000 constitutional referendum, in particular the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. The party split following the 2005 Senate election, with the main faction headed by the founder leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the other formation headed by Arthur Mutambara. At the Morgan Tsvangirai-led 2006 Congress, Thokozani Khuphe was elected for Vice-President replacing Gibson Sibanda who was now part of MDC-M.[2]

The two factions subsequently won a combined majority in the March 2008 parliamentary election.

Developments in 2007

On 3 August 2007 it was widely reported that two officials of the smaller Arthur Mutambara-led MDC formation had defected to the main Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change Zimbabwe formation, a week after talks to reunite the two parties had broken down. At a media briefing, former Member of Parliament Silas Mangono and Masvingo Province chairman Shaky Matake announced that they had defected from the Mutambara-led formation.[3][4][5]

An opinion poll on 27 September 2007 by the Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe found that of the 22% of poll respondents who are supporters of the MDC, 21% backed the main MDC formation led Tsvangirai and 1% expressed support for the smaller Mutambara's faction.

The poll takers acknowledged the survey was conducted mainly in the rural areas, traditionally a ZANU-PF stronghold, because the majority of the population lives there. It polled 1,202 of eligible voters.[6]

Political negotiations

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) mandated South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between ZANU-PF and the MDC in April 2007 to create conditions for free and fair elections for the 2008 polls. Mbeki appointed Sydney Mufamadi, South Africa's Minister of Provincial and Local Government, and director-general in the presidency, Frank Chikane, as the main mediators in the talks. All parties agreed to refrain from commenting on the progress of the talks in the media. Due to the media silence, it is relatively difficult to judge the progress of these talks, but both parties have agreed to constitutional amendments and the revision of certain key media and security laws. Critics argue that these changes are superficial and the mediation seems to have had little impact on a practical level. The MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai threatened to pull out of the talks if the conditions were not created in which free and fair elections can take place.

In July and August 2008, the MDC and ZANU-PF entered into negotiations to settle electoral disputes and to reach a compromise. The talks were both mediated by the South African president, Thabo Mbeki.

SADC Facilitated Government Power-Sharing Agreement

On 15 September 2008, the leaders of the 14-member Southern African Development Community witnessed the signing of the power-sharing agreement, brokered by Mbeki. At the Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed the deal to resolve the crisis. According to the deal, Mugabe will remain president, Tsvangirai will become prime minister,[7] the MDC will control the police, Mugabe's ZANU (PF) party will command the Army, and Mutambara will become deputy prime minister.[8][9] Tendai Biti was confirmed as the Finance Minister in the GNU and sworn in on Wednesday 11 November 2009.[10]

New constitution and gay rights

On 25 October 2011, Zimbabwe's Justice Minister and ZANU-PF member Patrick Chinamasa rejected calls by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to enshrine gay rights in a new constitution.

2014 suspension of Tsvangirai and other leaders

After months of in-fighting following Tsvangirai's 2013 presidential bid, he was suspended by members of the MDC for "remarkable failure of leadership,"[11] during a meeting of the National Council.[12] Tsvangirai was accused of creating a divisive atmosphere within the party.[11] Six other leaders were suspended at the same time, furthering the political split within the MDC.[13] Douglas Mwonzora, a spokesperson for the party and one of the suspended leaders, accused former Finance Minister and MDC general secretary Tendai Biti of helping Mugabe oust Tsvangirai.[12]

Political performance

Tsvangirai and Mutambara failed to unite on a single MDC candidate for the March 2008 presidential election. Tsvangirai ran for President while Mutambara backed the independent candidacy of Simba Makoni.[14] In the election, Tsvangirai won 47.9% of the vote according to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission results, ahead of Mugabe's 43.2%, necessitating a run-off because neither candidate won a majority. However, Tsvangirai claimed to have won a narrow first-round majority on 50.3% based on the mandatory posting of votes counted at polling booths.

In the simultaneous parliamentary election, both factions contested most seats, with the Tsvangirai faction winning 99 and the Mutambara faction 10, compared with 97 for Zanu PF, 1 independent, leaving 3 vacancies caused by deaths of candidates.[15][16]

On 28 April 2008, the two factions of the MDC announced that they were reuniting, thus enabling them to have a clear parliamentary majority.[17][18][19] As of June 2008, the factions have not formally merged.[20]

International media reported that MDC members and supporters, including prominent activist Tonderai Ndira who was murdered in May, were subjected to arrests, beatings and killings during the campaign period for the second round of the election.[21][22]

On 22 June 2008, Tsvangirai announced at a press conference that he was withdrawing from the run-off against Mugabe, due to be held on 27 June, describing it as a "violent sham" and saying that his supporters risked being killed if they voted for him. He vowed that the MDC would ultimately prevail and that its victory could "only be delayed".[23]

Notable party members

See also


  1. "Progressive Politics for a Fairer World". Socialist International. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. "Tsvangirai reelected as opposition MDC president in Zimbabwe". People's Daily. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  3. ZimOnline – Zimbabwe's Independent News Agency
  4. Mudzuri warns Mutambara of mass defections Archived 28 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. "pories/200708031110.html Zimbabwe: Collapse of Unity Talks Forced Former MP And 21 Others to Defect (Page 1 of 1)". Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  6. "Early Poll Gives Zimbabwe Ruling Party An Edge Over Its Opposition". VOA.
  7. ", Rivals sign Zimbabwe power-share deal". CNN. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  8. ", Power-sharing deal signed in Zimbabwe". The Times. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  9. "www.msnbc.msn, Zimbabwe power-sharing deal signed". MSNBC. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  10. "Zimbabwe finance minister to focus on stability | Mail & Guardian". Mail & Guardian. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  11. 1 2 "Zimbabwe: Opposition MDC suspends Morgan Tsvangirai". BBC News. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  12. 1 2 Thornycroft, Peta (26 April 2014). "Morgan Tsvangirai kicked out of MDC party". The Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  13. Majoni, Tawanda (26 April 2014). "MDC rebels "suspend" Tsvangirai, top members". The Zimbabwean. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  14. Fikile Mapala, "Mutambara withdraws from race, backs Makoni",, 15 February 2008.
  15. "This is Zimbabwe " Blog Archive " ZEC: Final results for the House of Assembly". 3 April 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  16. Final House of Assembly Results
  17. "Zimbabwe’s MDC factions reunite", SABC News, 28 April 2008.
  18. "Opposition reunites in Zimbabwe", BBC News, 28 April 2008.
  19. "Finally-Together as before", Zimbabwe Metro, 28 April 2008.
  20. Godfrey Marawanyika, "Top Zim opposition figure arrested", Sapa-AFP (IOL), 1 June 2008.
  21. "Another Zimbabwean Opposition Activist Found Dead After Abduction", Voice of America, 21 May 2008
  22. "The grip of fear: Military reign of terror as Zimbabwe prepares for elections", Sunday Herald, 8 June 2008
  23. Angus Shaw, "Zimbabwe opposition leader pulling out of election", Associated Press, 22 June 2008.
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