Why MDC divisions are good for Zimbabwe
The chief reason is that, after several years of compromise, it is necessary and healthy for leaders to be exposed and let the people point the way forward. Zanu PF is also happy about the fissure, not because it creates a chance for the people to develop, but because they see a window of a one-party state. Zanu PF has serious bloody fissures and they are controlled by the gun. Mugabe sees the mayhem as more easy power to Zanu PF but the division gives chance of internal rejuvenation.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) President, supported by the youth and women movements maintains that the party must not contest the senate elections because the party believes Zimbabwe needs a new constitution and that the $60 billion cost of the senate could be used to feed, educate, house and medicate the poor people.
On the other hand, the party’s Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, leads a team of leaders and people that argue that the party should contest the elections. Their chief argument is that the party must not surrender power on a silver platter to Zanu PF.
Zimbabweans face very serious problems of a failed government and a dictatorship. The people of Zimbabwe had deposited their trust and faith in the opposition MDC to lead them in a democratic and non-violent way of getting power. This avenue largely constitutes the electoral process. The most interesting thing in the crack is the claim by both sides that they are representing the people’s interests.
A major question
arises here: who are these people that both Morgan and Welsh purport
On the other hand, Tsvangirai whose other faces include Youth chairperson Chamisa and Women Chairperson Lucia Matibenga, argues that the senate is Mugabe’s project to solve Zanu PF’s succession dilemma and that the MDC must boycott the poll to divert the $60 billion towards health, education, food and housing.
It has been publicized that most of the 33 people that want to participate see themselves having a chance to be elected senators and benefiting from the hefty salaries and soft loans that accrue to such offices. Paul Themba Nyathi eyes a seat in Gwanda, Roy Bennet was assured a seat in Chimanimani, Evelyn Masaiti and her new husband, MDC National Chairperson Isaac Matongo, have eyed the comfort of Harare. This wagon includes a host of other senior party officials that mostly are not in parliament.
It would be unfair and harsh to accuse people of political ambition, and in this case it is their right to eye certain seats. However, the fundamental question is: who does it help for the MDC to be in senate and why is it important for the MDC to be led by principle and not mathematics?
At mathematical law, Welsh and his group are excellent. The national council voted 33 to 31, and it is common sense that their decision should carry the day since 33 is bigger than 31.
However, there is a vast difference between law and politics. Hitler was right at law to exterminate the Jews in Germany because it was law but politically it was wrong. It will be lawful for Chinamasa to take people’s passports but politically wrong. The pro-senate wagon is educated but not learned. David Coltart brought to parliament one day a draft “Zimbabwean Constitution” that he wrote alone pointing out that Zimbabwe needs a President with at least a degree. Only yesterday Coltart argued that Zimbabwe needs a new people driven constitution and today he turns otherwise with a bedroom constitution. Secondly, what is in a degree? How many degrees does Mugabe have? And if degrees grow an economy, why is Zimbabwe in a mess with an educated President? I am therefore tempted to follow uneducated but learned and people-centred arguments, not mathematical and rocket science based approaches that border on selling out the wishes of the people.
The best answer to the above questions comes from Mugabe. Addressing the Zanu PF central committee in Harare, Mugabe said: “I am happy that the MDC is going to contest.” Further questions ensue, why make Mugabe happy and who had informed Mugabe that the MDC was contesting? It is not our attempt to answer these questions. In Bulawayo when giving computers to a crowd of more than 2000 people -- of which half seemed to be soldiers – Mugabe celebrated these cracks and lambasted Tsvangirai for boycotting the senate polls.
It is important to highlight that our agenda is not to blindly attack or oppose Mugabe. Mugabe has done immense work for Zimbabwe including pushing the land agenda though I do not agree with both his means and the end. Mugabe seems pleased of the MDC National Council decisions than Zanu PF central committee resolutions. It is not shocking that Mugabe trusts the MDC more than he does Zanu PF because 6 of the 10 Zanu PF provinces were clear that Mugabe must go whilst the MDC national council says they need “to talk to Mugabe”. Zanu PF is clearer here and this split in the MDC leadership opinion will show the nation which leaders wished to meet and dine with Mugabe whilst houses were being destroyed in Murambatsvina.
However, in the case before us, it is of fundamental importance to scan Mugabe’s reaction because it was one of the MDC’s slogans that Mugabe must GO. So why now bless him to more executive power?
The current division in the MDC might be good for the people in that there will emerge a strong people centred party that truly represents their aspirations. Modern political power resides in people and not in intelligence, eloquence, oratory or guns - though all these elements are necessary in a power game.
At start, the MDC was a composition of reformists whose ideology was centre-right and a strong component of leftist women, students and labour activists. There were also a few but vigorous farmers. The Church and the ghetto youth formed the hub of the party whose initial demands were a new constitution and free and fair elections. As the party went towards formalisation and elections, there are several opportunists that joined the train because of their wealth, academic background or societal position and took leadership positions in a party whose objectives they guessed. The Raw data book bears testimony to my claim and most of the people that want senate elections today are selling out on the positions affirmed by the party at Chitungwiza, White City and Rufaro stadiums.
From this background, it does not shock some of us when Mafikizolos claim parenthood of the party and demand to lead it against the wishes of the poor peasants and workers.
The Ari Ben Menashe issue must be revisited. Which national council met on this issue? The political dialogue between Zanu PF and MDC in 2003, though noble must be interrogated in the same fashion. The treason trial and the state media slowly prepared the people to accept an MDC without Tsvangison - the arrogant and uneducated Briton. Is there anything hidden that all other people do not see here?
Some people in the MDC leadership had made themselves bigger than the party. They had substituted the national agenda with their very private and selfish agendas. We argue that Mugabe is a selfish person who does not want to move the button to another person, even within Zanu PF. It is not far from the truth that Mugabe’s celebration of the MDC’s participation was because he saw little Mugabes in the making. That is why I believe that this split is very, very good for the future of Zimbabwe. Whilst it could be confusing at present, I encourage people not to worry. Splits and divisions are common in all political processes; the most important thing is to be consistent and predictable on the position of the poor.
Mugabe and his colleagues were very clear during the liberation struggle. Tongogara says they were fighting for land to the poor and one-person one vote. They boycotted the 1978-9 internal settlement not because they feared losing or that they feared giving Abel Muzorewa power on a silver platter. Indeed Muzorewa took power, much to the pleasure and praise of Ian Smith, but the agenda of the poor remained in the fore of Zanla and Zipra. That is why these two groups were so popular with the povo and that is why the union of ZAPU and ZANU – the patriotic front -- rules today. It was on the basis of people centred work and not compromises.
From a youth and parent’s perspective, what good will the senate bring to Zimbabwe’s future? Certainly none, save for the myriad of dangers that it brings to the nation. Like Tsvangirai argues, the $60 billion is better used to pay the army, teachers and nurses, create more jobs and secure fuel.
From a principle
perspective, what good does it give the MDC to embrace one aspect (the
senate election) whilst refusing to accept the total package of confiscation
of passports and the finalisation of the racist and elite land program?
What Zimbabwe wants is a new people driven democratic constitution and free and fair elections not MDC, Morgan or Welsh. Under a new people written constitution and from free and fair elections, should Joice Mujuru or John Nkomo win the presidency, we hail them and support them well because they would be an outcome of the aspirations of the people. Why people, including myself, do not give Mugabe allegiance is because we were beaten and often subjected to sub-human conditions each time there is an election. That is why we say he is illegitimate and thus not our president. Simple!
This split is also important to Tsvangirai as a person. The Ari-Ben Menashe saga and the treason trial had more than one tonne of gold changing hands among several people including senior MDC officials. Who is Morgan Tsvangirai not to be sold when our Christian saviour Jesus Christ was sold by his tablemate? Why were these 66 national council members, especially the 33 conspicuously absent from the High Court? It was the ordinary party members, especially women, who stood by Morgan in prayer until he came out. Bennett knows how many people and which came to see him in Jail.
It is rather regrettable that very ambitious people hide their power lusts under the guise of not wanting to give Zanu PF control in a silver platter. If people cannot learn from the metropolitan governors of Bulawayo and Harare, the firing of MDC elected mayors and councillors and the numerous rigged elections, then they ain’t seen nothing yet!
I would like to
conclude from a vanguard end, that the poor peasants and workers will
protect their project, whether named MDC or anything, so long it demands
a new people-driven constitution and free and fair elections. Leaders
may fight, claim to know the people better or get billions worth of
land and mineral rights, the spirit of resistance will not die in Ncube
or Tsvangirai. After all, people die and Zimbabwe lives. So why worry?
In fact who is Tsvangirai and Ncube? Zimbabwe is and will forever be
loved much more than these two and it must be known that no person is
bigger than the people of Zimbabwe. Freedom is coming tomorrow. Aluta
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