The idea of a new political party to oppose ZANU PF hegemony, an idea whose time was ripe, was proposed on 26 February 1999 by over 700 men and women from all walks of life who converged at the women’s bureau in Hillside, Harare, for two days.

They set up various committees and sub committees to examine a whole gamut of Zimbabwean issues, only to resolve that the only way out was the need to challenge Zanu PF politically. During this convention key resolutions were adopted and the implementation of these have continued to guide the new party, to be known as the Movement for Democratic Change, in a quest to address a myriad of issues and imbalances created by Zanu PF.

The working people’s convention then gave birth to a political movement, the MDC, seven months later at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on the 11th September 1999.The MDC was then formed on the basis of carrying on the struggle of the people; the struggle for food and jobs; peace; dignity, decency and democracy; equal distribution of resources; and justice, transparency and equality of all Zimbabweans.


Against this background, the MDC became a logical continuation and conclusion of the full realisation of the rights of the children, women and men of Zimbabwe and all those who live in it.

“Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people.”-Abraham Lincoln

Inaugural Congress

On 26 January 2000 the party had its inaugural congress at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex. Morgan Tsvangirai became President. ZCTU President Gibson Sibanda became Vice President and a constitution for the party was adopted. Zanu PF immediately entrenched political violence as a political culture, leading to dozens of deaths and massive displacements of the poor in the rural areas. The situation remains unchanged to this day.

A general election was held with the backdrop of violence and electoral fraud on the 26th of June 2000. The MDC officially won 57 seats against Zanu PF’s 63 and challenged over a score of our seats, cases which were never resolved by the Courts. However violence intensified after June 2000. Zanu PF proceeded to steal the presidential election of March 2002 but the party remained steadfast in its endeavour to bring about change and a new Zimbabwe.

2005 Parliamentary Election

In 2005, the party “with a heavy heart” participated in the parliamentary election which was against a background of massive violence and intimidation and an uneven electoral playing field.The party won 41 seats of the 120 contested seats. The party split in October 2005 due to external interference.

The catalyst was a decision whether to participate in the senate election following its recreation by ZANU PF. Two factions emerged from the split, one led by Morgan Tsvangirai, the other initially led by Gibson Sibanda.

2006 Watershed Congress

In early 2006 the two MDC factions held their respective congresses and substantial resolutions were passed, peaceful and democratic means to push the aged dictator out were to be the hallmark of the future. Those congresses adopted a roadmap to legitimacy whose signposts and benchmarks saw the final collapse of the Zanu PF monolith and the termination of that party’s political monopoly.

In the 2008 elections the two factions fought the election as two separate parties, the larger faction under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai using a new party name, the MDC T, the smaller faction under the leadership of Arthur Mutambara using the name MDC. The MDC T won the Parliamentary election and but for fraud Morgan Tsvangirai won the Presidential election.

Zanu PF’s demise culminated in Mugabe accepting defeat. He agreed to recognise the MDC T and MDC parties and brought himself to a negotiating table to save his face. On 25 August 2008, the MDC T officially took control of Parliament and elected the then acting national Chairman Lovemore Moyo as the speaker, a post that had been jealously held by Zanu PF since independence in 1980.

Coalition Government and the Third National Congress

On the 11th of January 2009, President Morgan Tsvangirai became the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe in a coalition government comprised of the MDC T, ZANU PF and the MDC. With his assumption of duty as head of government, Zanu PF effectively crushed its own spine and has since survived through the control of a mere 37 percent of the organs of the state in a coalition it previously vowed would never be seen in Zimbabwe.

The MDC T party held its third national congress in April 2011, as did the MDC the same year, which saw Welshman Ncube elevated to President of the MDC.

2013 Election

After the conclusion of the coalition government and the promulgation of a new Zimbabwean Constitution, elections were held on the 31st July 2013. Once again they were mainly contested by the MDC T, ZANU PF and MDC. However due to massive rigging and intimidation ZANU PF regained its absolute control of power.
After the rigged July 31 2013 election some party officials walked away from the MDC T raising calls for leadership renewal. After these calls, the MDC T held an extraordinary congress in October 2014.

President Morgan Tsvangirai appointed Advocate Nelson Chamisa together with Engineer Elias Mudzuri as Vice Presidents on July 16 2016 to join Thoko Khupe who had been elected Deputy President at the 2014 extraordinary Congress.

On 7 February 2018, President Tsvangirai anointed Advocate Nelson Chamisa the Acting President of the MDC T

Death of Morgan Tsvangirai

A week later, on February 14 2018 President Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer of the colon and the National Council, the MDC T’s supreme decision-making organ between Congresses, resolved and confirmed Hon. Advocate Nelson Chamisa as the party’s substantive leader and the party’s Presidential candidate for 2018.

Morgan Tsvangirai was laid to rest at his rural home in Humanikwa village, Buhera on 20 February 2018.

Split of the MDC T and the formation of the MDC Alliance

The July 2018 election was fought under the name of the MDC Alliance and all the parliamentary and local council candidates of the various parties involved in the coalition fought the election under the ticket of the MDC Alliance. Nelson Chamisa was the Presidential candidate of the MDC Alliance and, on official ZEC results, garnered 2.1 million votes, only narrowly losing to Emmerson Mnangagwa despite widespread electoral fraud and illegalities. MDC Alliance tallies and intelligence confirmed that Chamisa had in fact received 2.6 million votes, but the Constitutional Court refused to issue the MDC Alliance’s subpoena for ZEC’s server which would have proven this. Despite placing evidence of widespread electoral irregularities and illegalities throughout the electoral process, the Constitutional Court challenge to the presidential election was not successful.

A decision was then taken to merge the different constituent elements of the MDC Alliance into one party. Three of the original members of the coalition, the MDC T under Nelson Chamisa, the MDC under Welshman Ncube and the PDP under Tendai Biti resolved at their respective national councils to merge as the MDC Alliance.

The MDC Alliance Congress - Gweru May 2019

In May 2019 at the MDC Alliance Congress held in Gweru Nelson Chamisa was elected President of the MDC Alliance, with Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi- Kore elected vice Presidents.