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MDC going by the wind

12 Apr 2020 at 08:41hrs | Views
RECENT infighting in the MDC has exposed the ideological decay that has characterised the party since its formation.

At its formation, the MDC professed to be a social democratic movement that would advance and defend interests of workers and the downtrodden. The fact that it was born out of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) sowed strong links with the new party.

Back then, workers had a significant say in the policies of the MDC. In fact they constituted the leadership of the party. There was Morgan Tsvangirai, Isaac Matongo, Gibson Sibanda, Paurina Mpariwa and Lucia Matibenga, among others. They influenced the party's programmes.

There was a clear organic relationship between the party and grassroots workers.

Twenty years down the line, MDC has been hijacked by "learned" lawyers. The top leadership of the MDC faction of Nelson Chamisa had several lawyers. These are Chamisa himself, Tendai Biti, Professor Welshman Ncube, and Job Sikhala. This composition of the top leadership has completely and irreversibly diluted the original social democratic thrust of the MDC.

Since the takeover of Chamisa in 2018, the MDC has slowly but firmly gravitated towards neo-liberal policies that are detrimental to the interests of workers. Never in the history of political activism has it happened that a party leader who claims to represent workers would represent a capitalist company in court against the very workers he purports to represent.

The outcome of the Zuva case has become legendary as it triggered a labour carnage unprecedented in the history of Zimbabwe. As we speak, thousands of families lost their source of livelihoods due to the legal activism by Chamisa and other lawyers who sold their souls to the imperial dollar. Some children are no longer going to school.

A true social democrat would have refused to represent Zuva on a point of principle. Not with Chamisa. The recent Supreme Court ruling has also exposed the paucity of political tradecraft among the Chamisa faction leadership. Despite having an almost entire leadership dominated by lawyers, the team keeps losing cases. The team lost the presidential election cases right from the High Court up to the Constitutional Court. They again lost the High Court case against the village-based Elias Mashavira. They again lost the case at the Supreme Court.

In that scenario, the inescapable conclusion is that either the "learned" lawyers are not applying their legal minds with a view to expose Chamisa whose post they are eyeing themselves. Alternatively, one is tempted to conclude that the faction's arguments before the courts are so weak that they are indefensible. But one would expect better from a party teemed with lawyers than any other in the country.

Further, since the violent take-over of MDC leadership by Chamisa in February 2018, discourses in the MDC have not been about advancing the national interest or putting citizens' welfare at the forefront. It has always been about Chamisa consolidating his power. The return of Biti, Prof Ncube and Sikhala to the MDC was part of a plot by Chamisa to dilute the original working class orientation of the party in favour of the student activism-based politics. Biti, Prof Ncube and Sikhala were among the most vitriolic among Tsvangirai's critics.

They went to the extent of calling him a dictator. Sikhala actually formed a new party which he nostalgically called MDC-99, although there was nothing reflective of the social democratic grounding of the party. MDC internal opposition to Chamisa immediately started when he started consolidating his grip on power by side-lining long-time members who had trade union background in favour of those with student activism background. The sinking into political oblivion of Elias Mudzuri, Warship Dumba, Dr Thokozani Khupe and Jessie Majome, among others, should be interpreted in this context. That Douglas Mwonzora was demoted from the influential post of secretary-general to a mere and obscure deputy secretary post was almost a consummation of the plot to neutralize the alternative view in the party.

From the political ashes of these activists rose the mafikizolos like Joanna Mamombe, Jacob Mafume, Daniel Molokele, Nkululeko Sibanda and several others who shared student activism with Chamisa.

The rise of these "student politicians" resulted in the rise of confrontational politics against the State. Chamisa thought he could replicate the chaos that he used to cause at Harare Polytechnic at a national level. It also led to the rise of violent protests. Chamisa and his cabal replaced discourse on sound and sober strategy discussion with fluent rhetoric.

The grassroots MDC membership has been observing these developments with dismay and alarm. It explains why there is a disconnection now between the public and the MDC of Chamisa and the one that was led by Tsvangirai. The answer lies in the take-over of the party by neo-liberalism. The "learned" but unwise MDC cabal of Chamisa has been exposed by the successive court losses. It has been taught the hard lesson that public office is attained through popular support than litigation.

From the foregoing, it is evident this trajectory taken by the new MDC leadership will be the death of the opposition party.

Source - sundaynews
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