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Abednico Bhebhe denies joining Chamisa's MDC

02 Apr 2021 at 12:34hrs | Views
THE continued polarisation within the MDC family has long been a cause of concern to many progressive Zimbabweans. My position on this matter is known. I have not only decried the persistent fractionalisation of the opposition, but I have made efforts to bring harmony. Of course, I am often misunderstood.

The state of the opposition in this country is worrying not just because some of us are in the opposition. In fact, it is Zimbabwe's continued political decay and economic breakdown that necessitate an urgent alternative to this politico-economic chaos brought by the long years of Zanu-PF rule which is sustained by the securocrats.

Only the MDC, so far, stands the best chance to provide that alternative and usher in a democratic and responsive government in our beloved country. My reflections on the state of the MDC currently is an attempt to put into perspective the recent developments and their historical context. Most often, readers take a panoramic view of issues and risk losing the meaning that gets clouded by conflicting narratives. Actually, nothing has changed in my position on this matter particularly for those who remember my public pronouncements since 2017 when the MDC was plunged into this internal discord.

Obviously, I shun the bait to make this matter out as if it is about my person as Abednico Bhebhe. No, it is not about me but about our situation as concerned citizens and responsible leaders. As I have said before and I reiterate here, my desire and efforts towards a united and strong opposition MDC is based on principle and common sense. It is common sense that only a united opposition can electorally dislodge the ruinous Zanu-PF regime and usher in an accountable government in its place. This is what the suffering majority want, and I am merely articulating the aspirations of the generality of Zimbabweans as a politician.

If we jog our memories back to August 5, 2017, I was one of the three leaders of the MDC who wrote to the party president pledging our full support of a coalition of opposition parties, but we also raised reservations on the risk of centralisation of power in one person and other procedural inconsistencies that could undermine democratic practices. Similarly, on December 11, 2017, I stated that, "Concerning the MDC Alliance, no-one within the opposition ranks does not want a coalition. We all want it." In that same interview I posed the rhetorical question: "Are you available to the highest bidder? Does it mean if Zanu-PF offers more than the MDC is prepared to give, then you will join them?"

At that time, I was neither prophetic nor even thinking it possible that some of our colleagues, not one or two, but a horde of them would indeed rejoin Zanu-PF after all what it has done to this country. As a mature politician, I will not be tempted to say I told you so. I believe that it is my duty to engage fellow comrades genuinely and truthfully all the time. And I have always done so. In a published piece, ‘The deferred hope of the Zimbabwe we wanted,' I cited George Orwell's Animal Farm: "Man serves the interests of no creature except himself." I was expressing disgust at the levels of depravity in Zimbabwean oppositional politics which is now marked by hatred, mudslinging and smear campaigns. I really implored the MDC leaders from acting like Zanu-PF in employing violence, tribalism, sexism and all forms of corruption.

Such are sentiments shared by the generality of Zimbabweans who yearn for nothing other than a better and prosperous Zimbabwe. For the record, I hold no brief for any MDC leader. I have expressed my considered views to all of them directly and publicly. My stand on unity of the MDC as well as of all oppositional forces is known by all the various leaders of our once glorious movement. In my letter to then Acting President of the MDC-T Thokozani Khupe on June 4, 2020, I concluded my presentation as follows: "I have acquitted myself profoundly well in the circumstances we find ourselves and I make no apology for my strong resolve that we find each other with our erstwhile comrades, while such an opportunity is available. It is a position that I am entitled to and cannot be a reason for abrasion in my relations with you."

The effort of uniting our factions has been fraught with suspicions and deep-seated hatred. But this is not about individual feelings, it is about what is good for the people of Zimbabwe. The MDC is a people's project and leaders come and go. Also, in the inaugural MDC-T Standing Committee meeting after the Supreme Court judgement, I emphasised my position, particularly as then reinstated National Organising Secretary. These were my points to the Standing Committee:

I take it that both formations of the same family (MDC-T) are bound by the Supreme Court judgement and we are meeting in that understanding.

In terms of executing my obligations, my task is to mobilise stakeholders eligible for the Extraordinary Congress which is upon us.

These stakeholders are party members as at 2014, but physically distributed between the two formations of the party: some are with the MDC-T and others are with the MDC-Alliance.

My immediate task is to bring these delegates together at a single venue, at the same time, before a united leadership, for the single purpose of consummating the business of electing a substantive leader of the party following the death of President Tsvangirai in 2018 as the constitution prescribes.

In my view, I was duty-bound by both principle and our constitution to bring together all eligible members to choose their leader and not a charade that eventually resulted from pursuit of narrow agendas and personal egos. It was time to heal and unite the MDC notwithstanding the pain and hurt sustained by many. We do it for the bigger cause and not individuals, no matter their sense of self-importance. Genuine leaders should have put the organisation and people before individual concerns, genuine as they may be.

Citing these few instances of my public pronouncements hopefully gives context to where we are coming from and our possible future trajectory. Those opposed to the principle of constitutionalism and unity of the MDC have chosen to target me as a person and not the principle that I espouse.

Against this backdrop, it is silly and mischievous if not devious too, to suggest that I have joined the MDC Alliance. I remain where I have always been and consistently so since 2017 when the discord began: I stand for unity of the MDC which is the only avenue to consign Zanu-PF to the dustbin of history come 2023.

Out of ignorance or malice, perhaps a combination of both, some have created an impression that I have hopped from one party to another. As far as I am concerned, I have stood by my beliefs which have not changed, and they are not about to change. I have worked with progressive people across the factional divide, and I do not regret it and will continue to do so as long as that would yield a stronger opposition against Zanu-PF tyranny.

Lastly, we should be all concerned with the deteriorating social, economic and security conditions in our country and deep poverty of both urban and rural masses. That should motivate us to reflect on the state of our opposition forces and their state of preparedness to dismantle the securocratic dictatorship in Zimbabwe. It should not be about Bhebhe or any opposition leader, but the bigger goal.

Abednico Bhebhe is a former MDC organising secretary and former MP for Nkayi South

Source - zimlive
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