By Dr Takavafira Zhou
This epistle must be understood as a product of historical analysis, nothing less and nothing more. The recent Supreme Court judgenent over MDC has been viewed and interpreted differently by lawyers, journalists and politicians, and historians are no exception to this.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to resurrect the historical context under which the judgement was passed. That it was passed when court cases had been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic is a fact. That there was serious consideration to ensure that there would not be any spontaneous rising by MDC Alliance supporters due to banning of gatherings as a result of lockdown is a fact. That there was pre-planing, capture of the courts by politicians, and exigencies of Zanu pf political expediency is discernible.
That some MDCT and MDC Alliance leaders were privy to the scheming and judgement before it was given as reflected in Khupe’s pre-judgement twitter communique, Komichi’s typed prepared communique read to journalist immediately after judgement was given, and the duo of Komichi and Mwonzora’s immediate triumphal acceptance of judgement without consulting other MDC Alliance leaders first, let alone supporters, is evident.
One can surmise that there was connivance between Zanu pf political expediency and MDC leaders’ egocentricism, fight for assets, power and personal glory. Not surprising Komichi bellowed that other MDC Alliance leaders should surrender assets of the party to him and Mwonzora, while Khupe tried to triumphantly enter MRT (Harvest) House. Mwonzora and Komichi’s position must be understood within the fact that they fell from grace to grass with monotonous regularity at the MDC Alliance Congress in May 2019.
The Supreme Court Judgement is understood differently depending on one’s position and disposition. However, it is not only moot and academic, but deliberately left vague possibly to orchestrate further sinister planning and scheming. The Mwonzoraists, Komichists, Khupeists and Zanuists argue that the judgement applies even on MDC Alliance and must be complied with.
The MDC Alliance leaders, considerable number of lawyers and political analysts, proffer that the judgement has no applicability and sustainability on MDC Alliance. It is their conviction that two political parties MDCT and MDC Alliance contested the 2018 elections as distinct and independent entities, and both have representation in parliament.
They further argue MDCT had its Congress in 2018 and MDC-Alliance in 2019 where distinct and independent leaders were chosen. Above all, they posit that MDC Alliance cannot be held accountable in a case it was never brought before the courts.
Yet sound as this surely appears, the vagueness of the supreme court judgement may have been deliberately left to further politically make it applicable to MDC Alliance. What can be deciphered from the judgement is that it is an attempt by Zanu pf in alliance with some rogue MDC leaders to undermine the legitimacy of Nelson Chamisa as President, perhaps because of his refusal to accept ED’s legitimacy following fraudulent 2018 elections.
The MDC Alliance must therefore budget for worse things to come. What can be said with certainty is that there is no precedent in history of the courts choosing leaders for political parties. If modern history has any lessons, it is that supporters have always elected their own leaders in political parties. MDC Alliance can only ignore this at their own peril.
It is prudent to categorically state that the real contest in the MDC has not even began. Such a contest is over the control of supporters. The MDC Alliance supporters across the ten provinces in Zimbabwe, as well as external provinces are content with the leadership chosen at MDC Alliance Congress in May 2019 with Chamisa as President. It follows therefore that the supreme court judgement is impossible to implement thereby rendering it null and void.
This is the landmine and quagmire that Mwonzora, Komichi, Mudzuri and Khupe will find very difficult if not impossible to navigate, never mind whatever money and support may be rendered to them by external forces. Three months is not very long enough, and the results will be clear for all of us to see.
The common sense revolution that leaders in any political party must walk is to guard jealously supporters’ democratically expressed will. As any other human being, Nelson Chamisa, may have weaknesses, but there is little doubt if any, that the democratically expressed will of MDC Alliance supporters is thrust upon him.
He is the best foot forward that can guarantee the multitude of MDC Alliance supporters democracy and egalitarianism. Hate him or like him, this is a reality at this historical juncture. No amount of egocentricism, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, thuggery, political and economic one armed banditry, cold and calculated political vandalism, can change this reality.
Real leaders are measured by where they stand during times of difficulties, than where they stand during good times. Every crisis in MDC has produced brilliant leaders, and Chamisa will never run short of capable lieutenants in the current contestation, more so given leaders that emerged from the May 2019 MDC Alliance Congress.
I rest my historical case
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou