I WRITE in response to a letter by Musekiwa Makwanya, “A meeting with Arthur evinces a better verdict”, (Zimbabwe Independent, May 19), in which he argued that the MDC pro-senate faction led by Arthur Mutambara provides a better alternative to that led
by the founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Makwanya is now based in London and we both know each other from Zimbabwe.
I first knew Makwanya in 2000 when we met at the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) congress at the Catholic Centre in Chikanga, Mutare.
The student delegates attending the congress took issue with Makwanya and his colleagues, accusing them of being members of the ruling Zanu PF who had invited Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to speak without the approval of Zinasu.
I do not wish to comment about the merits of allegations of being a member of Zanu PF levelled against him then.
Makwanya does not, however, tell readers that he himself is a member of the pro-senate faction, having organised and chaired the London meeting on May 9.
In his letter, Makwanya creates the impression that he is neutral in terms of the way he approaches the split in the MDC.
The London meeting was not smooth as portrayed by the author. Makwanya does not explain that the people who attended the Mutambara meeting took issue with what they called “arrogance” and the lies people are fed that the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai is the only party that has been on a violent streak.
People asked the pro-senate delegation why they continuously seek to discredit Tsvangirai on the basis of his level of education, yet they have in their ranks the likes of vice-president Gibson Sibanda and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
The meeting turned into chaos as some people took Mutambara to task with regards to his perceived arrogance and the fact that he thinks he is the “Messiah” that all Zimbabweans have been waiting for.
One speaker said: “If you have gravitas and intelligence, why are you holding on to what Tsvangirai formed? Why don’t you leave Tsvangirai alone and form your own party, different from the MDC?”
The other intervention came from Pedzisayi Ruhanya who argued that the pro-senate faction had lost the plot because of concentrating on wrong issues such as the question of ideology.
Mutambara was reminded that the problem in Zimbabwe was not that the MDC lacked an ideology as it was founded on the basis of advancing social democracy anchored on three pillars — justice, equality and freedom.
The London meeting disagreed with Mutambara that Tsvangirai lost the elections in 2000, 2002 and 2005.
It was felt that other senior members such as Welshman Ncube, Paul Themba Nyathi and Sibanda should share the “collective responsibility” for the loss.
Ruhanya, a former Daily News deputy news editor and student of human rights law at Essex University, argued that during his time at the now defunct paper, he covered stories exposing acts of murder, arson, rape and massive intimidation perpetrated by Zanu PF.
He specifically mentioned areas such as Mberengwa in the Midlands province where one Big Chitoro wreaked havoc and Buhera where Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya were murdered in cold blood by known, but still free, state operatives.