The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T party is using mass demonstrations around the country to mobilise support ahead of the 2018 general elections, analysts have said.
The party has announced that it will end its election boycott and take part in the 2018 general elections, which are likely to be a three-horse race pitting, President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF, Tsvangirai and Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru.
The party’s political fortunes which had taken a dip in the aftermath of a shocking defeat at the hands of Zanu PF in 2013, have been on an upward trend on the back of massive demonstrations in Harare and Bulawayo which attracted thousands of people.
Political analyst Professor Eldred Masunungure said the demonstrations were strategic for MDC-T to test its support base and to move towards capturing political power.
“Any political party will do its activities with an eye to capture power. The MDC-T having been out of power since 2013 is coming up with strategies that can put it back into power,” he said.
Masunungure said Tsvangirai was now walking with a new spring following the massive numbers of people who subscribed to the demonstrations.
“Critics have been saying MDC-T is too silent, confused and fragmented owing to splits in the party and, therefore, the demonstrations have brought new life and as the media has declared, Tsvangirai has regained his mojo,” he said.
A senior MDC-T official said the demonstrations were a grand scheme meant to show the international and funding partners that MDC-T remained popular and worth funding.
“Politics is played out on the local, regional, and international front. It is hoped that funding partners and diplomats will be forced to recognise the party as a force to identify with ahead of the 2018 elections,” he said.
The party will be holding a mass demonstration in Mutare in the next two weeks, which will be led by Tsvangirai, who arrived back home Friday after two weeks on sick leave.
But MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu claimed the demonstrations were merely fulfilling resolutions of their 2014 congress which are aimed at advancing democracy and participation in governance by the people.
Gutu said, as the “largest and most popular political party in the country”, MDC-T was leading the way for “down-trodden, oppressed and toiling masses of Zimbabwe”.
“These people are looking up to us for political salvation and socio-economic emancipation from the Zanu PF regime-inspired slavery and destitution,” he said.
“At the MDC-T fourth national congress that was held in Harare in October 2014, a number of resolutions were passed and adopted by the party. One of these key resolutions was that the party would embark on peaceful mass demonstrations to force the corrupt and politically decadent Zanu PF regime to curve in and eventually collapse.”
Gutu added: “Thus, the holding of demonstrations is just but a fulfilment of one of the congressional resolutions on our roadmap to establishing a free, democratic and progressive nation state in Zimbabwe.”
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the MDC-T demonstrations would go a long way in fighting the Zanu PF regime.
“It’s important that every person in Zimbabwe try what they can in their corner, big or small. There is no formula to fighting oppression and one never knows what will break a camel’s back.Fighting Mugabe is a national security issue now and all must do what they know to end it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gutu said Tsvangirai was resting at home with his family and would resume work tomorrow. “He is resting at home with his family and we hope that you will give him the privacy he deserves during this time. He will be back at work on Monday [tomorrow] and will also be part of the Mutare demo,” he said. standard