By Mutsa Makuvaza
PROMINENT journalist and pro-democracy activist Hopewell Chin’ono has warned the main opposition led by Nelson Chamisa that it could entangle itself in a legal mess if it stuck to the MDC Alliance name.
This follows reports by an online independent TV station, Heart & Soul TV, that Chamisa has decided to use the MDC Alliance brand in the upcoming by-elections set for March 26. With the nomination court sitting nationwide on Wednesday 26 January, Chamisa has just under two weeks to straighten out the issue of a party name.
“Nelson Chamisa and his party will contest the by elections as MDC Alliance. Decision has been reached in just ended meeting. Sources say the party members won’t give up name without a fight,” the TV station reporter, citing unnamed party insiders.
Chin’ono immediately warned that the Chamisa’s outfit could walk itself into a trap if it chose to stick to the MDC brand, with elections just months away.
“My first inclination is that this might be a huge disaster and they (Chamisa camp) are playing into the hands of the regime!” Chin’ono warned.
This follows threats and warnings by the smaller opposition MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora which lays claim to the name.
However, MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba suggested that it was too early to say they would use the MDC Alliance brand in the forthcoming elections. Siziba did not explain further, but indicated that the Heart & Soul TV report was rushed.
However, sources inside the Chamisa camp told HourlyHits that deliberations on the party name which started early in the day were yet to be conclusive.
“We certainly won’t use the MDC Alliance brand. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said a party official, after demanding anonymity.
Some suggested that news that Chamisa will use the MDC Alliance brand was most a political decoy meant to test how Mwonzora and his camp would react.
Chamisa lost Treasury funding, party headquarters and dozens of elected party officials to Mwonzora following a March 2020 Supreme Court ruling. This has precipitated the by-elections in 133 local wards and Parliamentary constituencies countrywide, although a few of the vacancies arose out of deaths of incumbents.