Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai

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Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai
LeaderDouglas Mwonzora
FounderMorgan Tsvangirai
Founded2005 (2005)
Split fromMovement for Democratic Change
HeadquartersMorgan Tsvangirai House, 44 Nelson Mandela Ave., Harare, Zimbabwe
Youth wingMDC Youth Assembly
IdeologySocial democracy
Left-wing nationalism
Political positionCentre-left
National affiliationMDC Alliance (2018–2020)
International affiliationSocialist International[1]
Progressive Alliance
Colours    Red and black
National Assembly
0 / 280
Party flag

The Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC–T) is a centre-left political party and was the main opposition party in the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe ahead of the 2018 elections. After the split of the original Movement for Democratic Change in 2005, the MDC–T remained the major opposition faction, while a smaller faction, the Movement for Democratic Change – Ncube, or MDC–N, was led by Welshman Ncube.



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[edit]

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[edit]

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. 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[edit]

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]

2014 purported suspension of Tsvangirai and other leaders[edit]

After months of in-fighting following Tsvangirai's 2013 presidential bid, a group of party officials purported to suspend Tsvangirai 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] Tendai Biti and others involved in the incident went on to form the MDC-Renewal which became the People's Democratic Party (Zimbabwe).

2018–2022 splits[edit]

The MDC-T survived to see Mugabe removed from office in November 2017, but Tsvangirai was afflicted by colon cancer and died on 14 February 2018. Nelson Chamisa became acting president of the party and contested as the party's presidential candidate in the 2018 Zimbabwean general election under the MDC Alliance electoral pact.

On 22 April 2018, Thokozani Khuphe was elected unopposed as the President of her MDC-T faction at an extraordinary congress in Bulawayo.[14]

After the election, the three member parties who were splinters of the original MDC (MDC-T, MDC-N and PDP) reunited to form a single political party under the name MDC-Alliance.[15] Nelson Chamisa was elected president of the party at the MDC Congress held in May 2019.[16] Then on 28 May 2020, the court ruled that MDC-A is a party.[17]

In April 2020, Khupe is recognized as MDC-T by Supreme Court.[18] In December 2020 Khupe was removed from the position of party president by Douglas Mwonzora amid strong claims of violence and cheating from her fans.[19][20]

In September 2021, Douglas Mwonzora took over of MDC Alliance.[21][22]

In January 2022, Chamisa founded the Citizens Coalition For Change (CCC).[23][24][25][26] He is backed by Welshman Ncube[27] and Tendai Biti.[28] In March, Khuphe urged Zimbabweans to vote for the CCC in that month's by-election.[29]

Political performance[edit]

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.[30] 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.[31][32]

On 28 April 2008, the two factions of the MDC announced that they were reuniting, thus enabling them to have a clear parliamentary majority but without a formal merger between the factions.[33][34][35][36]

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.[37][38]

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".[39]

Notable party members[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Candidate Votes % Votes % Result
First round Second round
2008 Morgan Tsvangirai 1,195,562 47.9% 233,000 9.3% Lost Red XN
2013 1,172,349 33.94% - - Lost Red XN
2018 Thokozani Khupe 0.96% - - Lost Red XN
2023 Douglas Mwonzora 28,883 0.65% - - Lost Red XN

House of Assembly elections[edit]

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Result
2008 Morgan Tsvangirai 1,041,176 42.88%
99 / 210
Increase 59 Increase 1st MDC-T–ZANU-PF coalition government
2013 1,027,412 30.29%
70 / 270
Decrease 29 Decrease 2nd Opposition
2018 Thokozani Khuphe 3.03%
1 / 270
Decrease 69 Decrease 3rd Opposition
2023 Douglas Mwonzora 5,307 0.34%
0 / 280
Decrease 1 Steady 3rd Extra-parliamentary

Senate elections[edit]

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Result
2008 Morgan Tsvangirai 1,035,824 43.04%
24 / 93
Increase 24 Increase 2nd MDC-T–ZANU-PF coalition
2013 1,008,023 29.85%
21 / 80
Decrease 3 Steady 2nd Opposition
2018 Thokozani Khuphe
1 / 80
Decrease 20 Decrease 3rd Opposition
2023 Douglas Mwonzora
0 / 80
Decrease 25 Decrease -- Extra Parliamentary

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Progressive Politics for a Fairer World". Socialist International. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Tsvangirai reelected as opposition MDC president in Zimbabwe". People's Daily. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Zimbabwe Online | A Look at Zimbabwe Today". Archived from the original on 28 November 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Zimbabwe prepares for a tough 2019". ZimDaily. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008.
  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. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
  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. Archived from the original on 22 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. ^ a b "Zimbabwe: Opposition MDC suspends Morgan Tsvangirai". BBC News. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  12. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  14. ^ Staff Reporter (21 April 2018). "Khupe elected MDC-T President". The Zimbabwe Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Chamisa names Ncube, Komichi as deputies, MDC re-unites". 11 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Zimbabwe opposition MDC party elects Nelson Chamisa as leader".
  17. ^ "MDC Alliance a party: Court". 28 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Zimbabwe: Supreme Court decision leaves Thokozani Khupe's MDC in disarray". 30 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Khupe Says Mwonzora Not Legitimate Leader of MDC-T". 23 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Mwonzora to recall Khupe from Parliament over split". 24 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Chamisa loses MDC Alliance name to Mwonzora". 29 August 2021.
  22. ^ Njanike, Ndatenda (3 September 2021). "Zimbabwe: 'Respect Us' - Mwonzora Warns Chamisa over Use of MDC Alliance Name". New Zimbabwe.
  23. ^ "Chamisa's MDC Alliance Rebrands To Citizens' Coalition For Change – Pindula News".
  24. ^ Ntali, Elia (24 January 2022). "Breaking News: Chamisa Rebounds With New Party Name".
  25. ^ Media, Gambakwe (24 January 2022). "BREAKING: Chamisa announces new party name - Citizens Coalition for Change".
  26. ^ Newsday (24 January 2022). "Chamisa party rebrands". NewsDay Zimbabwe. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  27. ^ "Khupe pushes CCC, Chamisa – DailyNews".
  28. ^ "Biti Romps to Victory – ZimEye".
  29. ^ "MDC-T's Thokozani Khupe Urges Zimbabweans to Vote for Citizens Coalition for Change Candidates in Forthcoming National By-elections". Voice of America. 21 March 2022. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  30. ^ Fikile Mapala, "Mutambara withdraws from race, backs Makoni",, 15 February 2008.
  31. ^ "This is Zimbabwe " Blog Archive " ZEC: Final results for the House of Assembly". 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  32. ^ Final House of Assembly Results
  33. ^ "Zimbabwe’s MDC factions reunite" Archived 2 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, SABC News, 28 April 2008.
  34. ^ "Opposition reunites in Zimbabwe", BBC News, 28 April 2008.
  35. ^ Godfrey Marawanyika, "Top Zim opposition figure arrested", Sapa-AFP (IOL), 1 June 2008.
  36. ^ "Finally-Together as before", Zimbabwe Metro, 28 April 2008.
  37. ^ "Another Zimbabwean Opposition Activist Found Dead After Abduction" Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Voice of America, 21 May 2008
  38. ^ "The grip of fear: Military reign of terror as Zimbabwe prepares for elections" Archived 9 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Sunday Herald, 8 June 2008
  39. ^ Angus Shaw, "Zimbabwe opposition leader pulling out of election", Associated Press, 22 June 2008.