By Brilliant Mhlanga
FOLLOWING what has now become the daily diet of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) politics, one wonders whether the party will ever go back to ideals of democracy they always purporte
d to purvey.
The MDC leadership is busy on a massive crusade of name-calling. I challenge all well-meaning Zimbabweans to revisit the terms used in this pejorative process of name-calling and unwarranted behaviour. Imagine some one being labelled a “goblin”, then the other being referred to as “smelly”, while he retorts and describes the other as having suffered from “diarrhoea”.
The question that quickly comes to mind is: do Zimbabweans really need this diatribe?
We have had enough, ranging from the comic Vice President Joseph Msika to the recently hilarious head of state, President Mugabe. We definitely do not expect the opposition to expose us to this kind of foul language. One wonders whether this is the kind of democracy they were going to display had they ascended into power in 2002. This is not only cantankerous but serves to show MDC’s lack of political maturity.
I submit the argument that the MDC has departed from its original founding principles, therefore has become questionable and thoroughly lacks plausibility. What we are seeing is in fact enough for us to know that MDC has never had any founding principles. They also never had an ideology. If they at least had some principles, we would expect the echelons to arrest this ugly face they are showing.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s failure to bring together his mad house and the subsequent spill over is enough for the nation to realise the bankruptcy of political leadership and extreme levels of political mediocrity. It even confirms the hollow fallacy associated with the attempt to see MDC as having had founding principles. A party whose formation is primarily rooted on the anger of the masses does not last.
One major truth is that anger cannot and will never be substituted for a political principle. A principle should be closely linked to the ideological motivation of the party, together with the wisdom of forestalling such ludicrous behaviour in the event that there are setbacks in the future. The solid foundation on which any meaningful group of people base their future focus and the course of action which follows thereafter, leading to the ultimate taking of power from the ruling party must be guided by a strong principle and political will.
The major founding principle should be people first. Of course not the Zanu PF warped way of seeking political fortunes for the ruling thugs, who later turn against the same people they purport to be representing and destroy their source of livelihood. That is not anywhere close to a political principle.
The MDC’s political weaknesses are not different from that of Zanu PF. Maybe the only difference is that Zanu PF is enjoying the benefits associated with incumbency. Both parties have a culture of political patronage, a serious disease Zimbabweans must shun, if change is to visit us any time soon.
Patronage is a serious mustard seed for disaster. The verbal slurring currently enveloping the MDC is a result of the works of political patronage which the leadership inculcated. They created a “nearer to thee my God” character of a president, who now wallows in political sanctity never to be paralleled. This political creation has led to the failure of all MDC structures and now that he is being challenged, any form of challenge is seen as lack of respect for the leadership which must be decisively dealt with, in the Zanu PF political style – mudslinging. This is what usually happens when people create a political figurehead and make him believe his role has to equal Mugabe’s patronage in order to offset him. Zimbabwe does not even need another Mugabe. It does not want anyone who seeks to equal Mugabe, but an institutional overhaul.
To avoid political patronage, it must be clearly laid down as a principle that no one is more equal than others. It must also be clearly stated that the constitution is the supreme law of the land. Respect for the party constitution cannot be over-emphasised. Zimbabwe does not need patronage any more. We now need a leader who will undertake to operate within his constitutional mandate. This implies that Zimbabwe still has to go through a rigorous constitutional reform. The impetus for a new constitution is due to the untrustworthy nature of human beings. And so because we don’t trust any human being, let alone a big entity like MDC, we enact constitutional frameworks to ensure that the continued participation of the masses in fashioning the democracy they want is not curtailed. This ideal has failed in the MDC, the leadership has done everything they can to disturb their organisational structures. The masses are very doubtful they can trust the MDC with national structures.
I therefore conclude that Zimbabwe no longer needs thr MDC. In my view, Zanu PF is better off with the MDC for an opposition party than is the ordinary Zimbabwean. In fact, Zanu PF badly needs the MDC at this stage; they are even better off with Tsvangirai as the leader with his headstrong ways. The existence of the MDC serves to indirectly install Zanu PF’s illegitimate regime and its continued hold on power. The MDC is by all means proving to be politically hopeless and serving as a Zanu PF plant in the broader Zimbabwean politics meant to impede other political players from taking the stage and obviously unseating the ruling party.
This madness must not be allowed to continue for long. Otherwise people cannot afford to hide behind silence and blame it on these opposition leaders. Yes, these leaders are wrong, but it is the duty of responsible citizens to remind leaders of whatever kind that they are from the people. For now the wrongs of the leadership are conjured up by our sins of silently watching when they embark on acts of madness.
* Brilliant Mhlanga is a human rights activist.