Chaos erupted Wednesday at the press conference announcement where Morgen Komichi revealed his split from Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC party and launch of the United Movement for Democratic Change.
As Komichi unveiled his new party from the podium, angry supporters of Mwonzora’s MDC faction rushed to the stage and surrounded Komichi. Fists were raised as the furious crowd berated Komichi, accusing him of destroying the once-powerful opposition party through instability and infighting.
Police intervened to separate the two sides and escort Komichi away for his safety. Members of Komichi’s camp and journalists also had to be ushered out amid the ruckus.
The latest violence comes at the end of a long string of splits and power struggles within the MDC since the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2018. Komichi, the former chairman of the MDC, is now reviving yet another faction after disputing Mwonzora’s leadership of the main MDC party which has seen shrinking support in recent elections.
While Komichi claims he has the vision to revive the opposition, critics argue his breakaway party will only further fragment the MDC and weaken prospects for unseating ZANU-PF.
“I had come here to outline a vision for leading the struggle,” said Komichi, forced to cut his press conference short. “But some sideshows engulfed the occasion.”
However, Mwonzora supporters blame Komichi and others for instigating infighting that has left the once formidable MDC floundering in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
— Studio 7 (@Studio7VOA) June 14, 2023