The split of 2005, not alleged vote-rigging that MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC president Professor Welshman Ncube have been peddling for over a decade, has contributed to the opposition's dismal performance in successive elections, the two leaders said yesterday. Mr Tsvangirai has been losing elections to President Mugabe since the formation of his party in 1999 and has contested the poll outcomes as manipulated.
Speaking yesterday at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Prof Ncube's MDC for a proposed coalition of opposition parties ahead of next year's harmonised elections at his Highlands home, Mr Tsvangirai said they shot themselves in the foot by splitting. He was flanked by his deputy, Mr Nelson Chamisa, and Senator Morgan Komichi.
Mr Tsvangirai admitted it would be folly for anyone to think they could defeat President Mugabe contesting as splinter parties.
The original MDC split on October 12 2005 after a faction led by Mr Tsvangirai insisted the party should not take part in senatorial polls that year while Prof Ncube and his backers wanted to participate.
Said Mr Tsvangirai: "It would also be equally dishonest not to recognise that in our journey with Professor Ncube we both made our own mistakes. We split our party in 2005. The cost of that vote splitting in addition to the blatant manipulation of results delayed change for the people of Zimbabwe in 2008. Ladies and gentleman, it takes humble leadership to accept one's mistakes but it takes bold leadership to correct those mistakes.
"It is in this respect that I am both relieved and pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Ncube as a first step towards undoing the damage we caused ourselves. Today, Professor Ncube and I will open a new chapter and craft a political agreement that should see us harness and combine our known electoral strengths to face our common opponent as a united front.
"If anyone in this country expects us to contest the next elections separately as we did in 2008 and 2013 and expect a different result, it will not only be a third moment of real madness, but the highest form of insanity, and none of us is insane."
Prof Ncube weighed in: "I too take responsibility for the mistakes we have made in the past. The decisions that we made, which were clearly not always in the national interest in particular in relation to the splitting of the MDC. We accept that we divided our people, we divided the membership of the party which we should not have done," he said.
"Let me associate myself with everything that he (Mr Tsvangirai) has said to you this afternoon both in terms of the vision, the economic and other policy interventions that we intend collectively to make post-2018 and his description of the nature of the political crisis that faces us as a people, which have caused us to be here today."
He said what was important was not just to accept the mistakes but to begin to take the requisite steps to be accountable to the people of Zimbabwe.