Tentative moves toward reunification last year by factions of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change seem to be faltering this year despite calls from the broader opposition movement for MDC leaders to overcome their differences.
MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara extended an olive branch this week to the rival faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai – but a Tsvangirai spokesman quickly dismissed the reunification proposal, saying the broad opposition was already united.
The blunt rejection of Mutambara's overture came despite repeated calls from civil and religious leaders for a rapprochement between the factions that went separate ways in late 2005 over the issue of whether the MDC should contest senate elections.
Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa appeared to dismiss out of hand the suggestion from Mutambara that the two factions rejoin forces. He told reporter Peter Clottey of VOA's English to Africa that Mutambara's offer was disingenuous.
Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe sought perspective on the problematic relationship between the MDC factions from two political observers: advocacy officer Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and Nairobi-based political analyst Brian Kagoro.