By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s opposition has lost its founding values and now needs to deal with credibility as well as capacity issues dogging it, former Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has said.
Manyenyeni was Mayor of Harare between 2013 and 2018 representing the opposition MDC and remains an active member of the party.
In a scathing Facebook post, Thursday, Manyenyeni said Zimbabwe remains stuck in a leadership crisis 39 years after majority rule arguing most technocrats have turned into arm-chair critics.
“Us in the opposition have credibility and capacity doubts to clear – having long lost our factory settings,” said Manyenyeni.
The MDC formed in 1999 as a social-democratic party has consistently campaigned on a platform to change the way Zanu PF has governed the country under the mantra “change the way you do things”.
However having been in charge of most of the country’s urban centres for nearly two decades the party’s officials have been accused of corruption including a case in which all its councillors were fired from Chitungwiza for graft.
Under new 41 year-old new leader Nelson Chamisa, Manyenyeni said the MDC needs to act like a responsible opposition.
“We have to look less and less like a grouping of selfish activists but a real government-in-waiting.
“Introspection is hardly ever on the agenda,” the former Harare councillor said suggesting there is a possibility for a “third force’ that however he argued may not be viable.
Manyenyeni argued respectable Zimbabweans who could help the country extricate itself out of the rut are unwilling to get dirty.
“The professionals and technocrats are arm-chair compatriots. Those who are NEEDED to serve simply leave it to those who are in it for NEED.
“National one-ness and cohesion remain elusive (and) partisan politics remains the only game in town. We are in perpetual election mode- very destructive,” the ex-Harare Mayor said.
A few years ago, Manyenyeni riled many opposition activists after arguing the caliber of councillors in Harare left a left to be desired. He at the time advocated for a qualification clause in rules governing election of candidates to councils.
The former councillor said 39 years after independence, Zimbabwe is trudging along like a “rudderless ship” with basic freedoms that those who went to war demanded “non-existent.”
“We’ve done things we can never been proud of. Political leadership failure is on display all-round.
“A jewel of a country destroyed by its own leaders as docile citizens watched. The team in power (Zanu PF) continues to focus on power retention – ruling as they do but not leading – most times behaving like they are just an opposition party in government,” he said.
Manyenyeni repeated his call for a scrapping of “partisan elections” for 10 years arguing they have destroyed the country’s political, economic and social fabric.