14 February 2000
MDC's participation in the "Vote NO" campaign against the government's Draft Constitution in the Referendum resulted in the first ever defeat of Zanu PR This warned the ruling party that they had lost popularity, and led to massive violence on commercial farms in the run up to the General Election, as they strategised to retain power.
24 June 2000
MDC made history when it nearly upstaged the ruling party in the June 2000 general election by winning 57 out of 120 contested seats, while ZANU PF could only manage 62 seats. This was in spite of the fact that the MDC was only 8 months old.
31 March 2005
Although the MDC got fewer seats in the 2005 general elections than in 2000, it was evident that violence, intimidation and downright rigging by the ruling party were major factors in influencing the outcome of the results. While the MDC remained the only formidable threat to the ruling party's hold on political power in Zimbabwe, it began to experience serious internal challenges. Fatigue and despondency due to the prolonged struggle, disregard of the provisions of the party constitution by some party officials and the tendency to resort to unorthodox means to resolve internal conflicts that had crept into the party, contributed to the fateful 12 October 2005 conflict that culminated in the split of the party.
It is imperative to those who are thirsty for the truth that we give an outline of what happened on the fateful day of 12 October 2005. At the time, the ZANU PF government had decided to bring back the upper house (Senate) through Amendment No. 17, a development that deepened divisions within the party as the structures haggled over whether to participate in the Senatorial elections or not. Against this backdrop, a National Council meeting to come up with a party position on the matter was held on 12 October 2005. The sequence of events that occurred on the day, are outlined below.
12 October 2005: National Council Meeting
Council debated whether or not to participate in the Senatorial elections. As members could not agree on the way forward, it was agreed that the matter be resolved through the vote. A secret ballot was held and the results came out 31 against and 33 in favour of participation.
The then President of the MDC, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, stood up and said, "Well, you have voted, and you have voted to participate, which as you know is against my own wish. In the circumstances, I can no longer continue. I cannot let you participate in this Senate election when I believe that it is against the best interests of the party. I am the President of this party. I am therefore going to go out of this room and announce to the world that MDC will not participate in this election. If the party breaks, so be it. I will answer at Congress." He then stormed out of the room, followed by a few supporters.
The remaining five Management Committee members followed the President to his office and implored him to accept the result of the Council vote in accordance with the party constitution, and then report back to the rest of the Councillors. They caught up with him at his home, where he had already finished addressing a press conference. The then President refused to talk to them and he left for his rural home. Efforts to contact him were fruitless as he would not answer his phone.
Meanwhile, they learned that at the press conference, with both international and local media, he had misrepresented the truth by claiming that the vote was 50-50 and he had used his casting vote (which he did not have, according to the constitution) with the result that MDC would not be participating in the Senate election. Management met again that evening to release an official announcement giving the real results and declaring that the MDC had therefore resolved to participate.
When it became evident that the party was headed for a split, there were several mediation efforts to reunite the party, however they were not successful. This led to the two formations convening seperate Congresses in 2006. This was a clear confirmation that the party had irretrivably seperated and that the MDC had indeed into two formations.