Claims by MDC-T vice president Dr Thokozani Khupe to the effect that of the people who were mandated by ZCTU to form the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), only three of them are surviving while the rest have since passed away are misleading. ZCTU has said it never mandated individuals to form the MDC. MDC Alliance members say there are many people who were involved at the formative stages of the party who are still alive, something that has been confirmed by ZCTU.
BACKGROUND: Speaking on the occasion to commemorate the opposition party’s 22 second anniversary, MDC-T vice president, Dr Thokozani Khupe, claimed of the people who were mandated by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to form the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), only three of them are surviving while the rest have since passed away.
“Like what Honourable Gift Chimanikire said earlier on, amongst those people who were mandated by the ZCTU to form MDC, only three are remaining. The rest have since passed on and those three are Honourable Gift Chimanikire, the organising secretary of MDC-T Honourable Paurina Mpariwa, the secretary general of the and yours truly Dr TK,” said Dr Khupe.
But ZCTU president, Peter Mutasa, told CITE that while many people raise various claims about the formation of MDC and how important their roles were, the union never gave anybody a mandate.
“The ZCTU did not mandate individuals to do anything,” said Mutasa.
“The ZCTU-ZESA extraordinary conference only accepted the request by the Working People’s Conference that ZCTU lead the process. It also stated that comrades would go in their individual capacities and not as ZCTU.”
He said many more people were there at the formative stages of the MDC apart from those cited by Khupe.
“And it is not true that only those mentioned were the pioneers,” said Mutasa.
“There were many comrades from ZCTU who took up different roles across the country. Some even worked more than some who today profile themselves as the most important. Sadly some of those comrades died because of their roles in the formation of MDC.
Mutasa added: “Unfortunately there is a lot of revisionism happening and comrades trying to rewrite history and positioning themselves above all others who sacrificed and even lost their lives.”
MDC Alliance vice president Professor Welshman Ncube said there are many people still alive that he worked with during the formative stages of the MDC.
“I have no knowledge of the then internal workings of the ZCTU and who the organisation assigned to do what during the processes of the formation of the MDC but there are 100 of people who are still alive with whom we worked during those formative first days, weeks and months,” said Prof Ncube.
“I sat together with many others in the interim executive of the party after the two Working People’s Conventions. Many of the ZCTU stalwarts with whom we worked then and even before the creation of the party’s interim executive are still here.”
He added: “The person who did most of the hard background work was [Timothy] Kondo and I believe he is still alive.”
MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza, said claims by Khupe were unfounded.
“Thokozani Khupe is not telling the truth,” he said.
“The MDC was formed after four years of research (June 1996 to February 2000) by Timothy Kondo and other comrades. A document titled “The Workers’ Driven”; and “People-Centred” Development Process for Zimbabwe” was produced.
He further explained: “As Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the late Morgan Tsvangirai invited delegates to the National Working People’s Convention (NWPC), which became the vehicle that formed the MDC. Thokozani Khupe, Gift Chimanikire and Paurina Mpariwa are not singled out in their personal capacities for any peculiar roles in any of the party’s founding documents.”