MOST Zimbabweans — both urban and rural – welcomed the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) when it arrived on the political scene in 1999. Of course Zanu PF then went on to intimidate all people to “rein in the dissidents”.
This it successfully did because Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have defeated the MDC in all presidential and parliamentary elections since the opposition party’s inception.
However, even then in the presidential election of 2002, 41% of the electorate supported the MDC despite the violence perpetrated against them. That was a significant figure because the atrocities unleashed against MDC supporters have never been seen on a national scale in this country.
The people saw in the MDC a change to the inept, undemocratic and corrupt leadership of the past 19 years.
Six years after the party was formed we have a sad scenario where the leader of the party has refused to uphold democratic principles because a decision went against him. This is his undoing because that is what posterity will now remember Morgan Tsvangirai for.
What he has done is aligning himself to the Zanu PF/Mugabe ideology that does not accept dissenting views – a sad turn of events for one who was held in such high esteem.
Recently the leader of the oldest democracy in the world, Tony Blair, lost a vote in parliament that he invested his personal authority in. A vote that he personally drove but saw about 48 of his own MPs voting against him.
Blair did not say that he did not care if the party split. He took on the collective democratic responsibility that says even if I’m in the right and they are wrong, if the majority has spoken then let it be. If one has failed to convince the people, then let it be.
Blair did not say that because the majority of the “dissidents” were Scottish or Welsh, there’s a tribal agenda. No, he respected the will of the people, even though he went on to publicly declare that those who had voted against his plan were “out of touch with the will of the people”.
Blair said “he would rather lose and be right than win and be wrong”. Wow!
Going on further with the example of Blair, his defeat has sparked what analysts are calling a leadership question. Since this is Blair’s first defeat, is it time for him to leave the leadership of the party? One defeat and his future is in jeopardy.
The MDC under Tsvangirai has suffered three national defeats – a presidential poll and two parliamentary elections – and soon a senate election. It is time to seriously consider replacing Tsvangirai.
The MDC president has become a liability to the party. We are all very disappointed with you Tsvangirai, not because you stood for what was right, but because of your undemocratic tendencies. That is your legacy – emulating Mugabe in his quest to create a society of subservience.