Revisiting the MDC split

By Ellen Shiriyedenga



THE people of Zimbabwe, particularly those who vote, need to have a clear picture of why the MDC split nearly two years ago.



=justify>There has been so much disinformation particularly from those that support Morgan Tsvangirai’s bid for the presidency.


As a result the truth has been sacrificed on the altar of expediency.


A lot of myths have also been peddled in a bid to divert attention from the simple fact that Tsvangirai presided over his party’s split.


He engineered the split. Why, is a question that Tsvangirai himself should be compelled to answer.


Let me explore these lies and myths. We are told that the group that is led by Arthur Mutambara is a tribal clique.


Let us assume that the people in the Mutambara formation were all of Ndebele origin, would that disqualify them from organising themselves in pursuit of democracy, human rights and a decent political life in Zimbabwe?


Since when did the ethnic origins of a person pursuing a just cause matter?


Why is it so easy for those who support Tsvangirai to throw accusations at these human rights activists without realising that they are actually seeking to exclude, on the basis of ethnicity, other people from pursing justice?


The above notwithstanding, basic mathematical calculations will indicate that the ethnic group is a small minority in both the national executive and national council of the formation.


The formation has sold more membership cards in the Mashonaland regions than in Matabeleland.


As a matter of fact, which MDC should be accused of being an ethnic clique, when the Tsvangirai-led MDC’s Johannesburg provincial congress elected only one Ndebele out of 27 executive members?


The other myth is that Welshman Ncube is the brains behind the formation and Mutambara is a puppet.


Those of us who work with Mutambara know that it will be easier to turn Mugabe into a democrat than to make Mutambara anyone’s puppet.


It is obvious that those who make these ludicrous allegations do so in order to confirm the myth that the Mutambara formation is an Ndebele outfit.


These are shameless individuals who do not understand the damage done to societies by negative ethnic profiling.


Ncube is the secretary-general of that formation, period!


Those who spend their time demonising him do so because of a sense of intellectual inadequacy and have to deal with that problem themselves.


Ncube works in collectivity, something that Tsvangirai rejects in pursuit of dictatorial processes that have no space amongst those seeking a democratic dispensation.


We are told that Tsvangirai founded the MDC.


Indeed, he did with others, including Gibson Sibanda as the founding MDC president, and Tsvangirai the secretary-general.


And of course the party adopted a constitution.


Nowhere in the constitution is the president enjoined to violate that same constitution.


Nor does that constitution allow the nurturing of a violent militia for purposes of suppressing dissenting voices.


The other lie is that the Mutambara formation is a splinter minority.


The peddlers of this lie employ voodoo mathematics to bolster this assertion.


The numbers game has been abused to ridiculous levels.


A hall in Jahunda township in Gwanda that barely accommodates 120 people suddenly expands to accommodate 5 000 Tsvangirai supporters!


One thousand brave, loyal and dedicated people turn up at White City Stadium to hear their leaders speak; instead of being acknowledged as such, their sacrifice is undermined by inflating that figure on the Internet to 20 000!


What is the intention? The idea is to deceive of course. And these are people who seek the highest office in the land.


They lie about small things in pursuit of bigger things and the result could be the death of the nation.


We are told Ncube has rejected the coalition agreement that would have led to one MDC candidate challenging Mugabe in the 2008 elections.


For the record, the Mutambara-led formation formally adopted the agreement at its national council meeting of April 1 2007.


Ncube was at that particular national council meeting.


Let the Tsvangirai formation tell the people what it is they found objectionable in the coalition agreement for them to reject it.


And why do they not have the courage of their convictions to say openly that they rejected the agreement instead of maligning Ncube?


Some of us believe that we cannot build a strong Zimbabwe on a foundation of deception and lies.


The future has to be dealt with now! If we find ourselves saddled with leaders who are not different from con-artists, we will regret our misfortunes for the rest our lives.


Charles Mangongera, who is described as a human rights and development expert based in Harare in an opinion piece of August 30 which appeared in the Zimbabwe Independent, makes the following statement: “. . . and more fundamentally, does Tsvangirai need Mutambara to anoint him as the sole presidential candidate for next year’s presidential plebiscite?”


Is it possible that Mangongera just does not get it or is it yet another deliberate personalisation of issues? Mutambara was talking of a process involving parties.


The two MDC parties sent teams to negotiate with respect to a coalition. The two teams came up with a formula.


The Mutambara formation endorsed it and the Tsvangirai lot did not. So where does “anointment” by Mutambara come in?


This is the usual Zimbabwean political way of reducing everything to personalities.


For a so-called human rights activist, Mangongera’s deplorable language explains why our country’s human rights record is in such a mess.


If human rights activists cannot accord those who hold a different viewpoint the respect they are entitled to, then God help us.


In the same issue of the Independent, CKM of Harare demonstrates incontrovertibly the penchant for violence in the language and demeanor of those who support Tsvangirai.


CKM talks of “political abortion” and a “faction split along tribal lines”. Crude words have nothing to offer.


According to CKM, Mutambara “leads a party that failed to obtain good votes in the Zaka by-election”.


Neither formation of the MDC fielded candidates in this by-election.


CKM asks whether Mutambara is not a Zanu PF plant.


That crudeness, that labelling, that intolerance typifies Tsvangirai’s people and yet they are offering themselves for public office.


* Ellen Shiriyedenga is the MDC (Arthur Mutambara formation) National Youth Assembly secretary-general.