MDC’s departure from its founding principles towards Morgan Tsvangirai’s last days triggered the formation of the United Movement for Devolution (UMD) as an alternative, especially for Matabeleland, party leader, Lovemore Moyo has said.
Moyo who is the former MDC-T national chairman and Speaker of Parliament was speaking Monday during the Breakfast Club, an online programme hosted by CITE.
UMD was formed in 2018 a few months before the harmonised elections and none of its few candidates who contested won.
“In fact, you may recall the politics towards the final days of the former president Tsvangirai that the character of our politics changed dramatically to a level where it became apparent that it was more driven by tribalism than the need to develop an opposition that is ready to govern,” said Moyo.
“You may recall the appointments of the two vice presidents or deputy presidents, whatsoever you call it, also was an indication that tribalism was now at play. So I then decided to say, look, I cannot sit and watch while the movement that I helped to form was now departing from its founding principles and values of non-tribalism and non-discrimination on the basis of race. So I then decided to say look it is no longer serving my interests and the interests of the people that I lead. I then decided to quit.”
Moyo said he had initially planned to quit politics.
“Having left MDC initially, I wanted to retire but of course, politics to me is not personal it’s a collective,” he said.
“I had to speak to people who played an important part in my political development and political career. I consulted widely within the civic society, church leaders and some traditional leaders as well just to say to them, look, this is how far we have gone in the MDC but the way things are, I am of the view that the MDC is no longer serving the interest of the people of Matabeleland in particular. And I needed the views, to hear the views of those people that matter in my life.”
He further explained: “I also spoke to eminent persons within our region and they said, look, yes we hear but you are still very young to quit politics, we have invested so much in you and there is no way that Matabeleland can lose that investment in you deciding to retire.”
He said it was through that consultative process that he realised that there was a gap that needed to be occupied.
“You may recall that in 2013 we adopted a new constitution which provided for devolution in Chapter 14 and we felt that the government was not doing enough to implement devolution,” he said.
“To make matters worse, I think it was after the pronouncement by the then Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa, when he said, look we do not think devolution is sustainable; we have no resources. We felt that we have to defend devolution. Devolution, in our view, is part of the solutions to the problems that we have in this country. If we can devolve this country, the issue of past imbalances, past injustices can be easily addressed.”
He added: “The issues of inequalities that we have can be easily addressed in our view. It will mean that the provinces will be in charge of their political and economic affairs.”