MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora says his party is the only legitimate owner and rights holder to the name MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) first used in 1999.
Mwonzora made the remarks while speaking during a question and answer session on HStv, an Alpha Media online radio and television platform. He insisted that his party was the only legitimate holder of the name MDC. Said Mwonzora:
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I know only one legitimate holder of that name and that is the MDC-T, it is also the legitimate holder of the name MDC Alliance.
I am not dreaming about this, it is documented. I don’t know what other leaders are going to do, but you are going to find our political party on the ballot paper.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold its next general elections in 2023 but there is uncertainty over the name the country’s main opposition party, the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, will use to contest the polls.
Mwonzora told Chamisa to look for a new name for his political party ahead of the 2023 general elections. He said:
Our aim is not to stop people from contesting the election; people who want to contest the election must be free to contest an election.
People who have formed their own party must have the courage of using the names of their new political parties.
… We are definitely going to be the users of the MDC name because it is in black and white, anybody who wants to steal our name we will deal with that.
The MDC has splintered several times since its formation in 1999. In 2005, the then secretary-general Welshman Ncube formed his own MDC, and later, Job Sikhala formed his MDC-99.
Both parties were able to register with the electoral body for elections without hindrance from the main MDC, which adopted the MDC-T name to distinguish it from the other MDCs.
However, Mwonzora, who lacks mass appeal and has been accused of furthering ZANU PF interests, could try to block the use of the MDC brand by other political entities, particularly the popular Chamisa.