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MDC must return to founding principles

THE MDC must embrace its founding principles of 1999. I was just a 19-year old, fresh from high school, new at college with no political experience, empty belly, no payout, no accommodation because the then Minister of Higher Education decided to starve studen

ts across the country.

I must admit that time everything was so difficult, I lost hope when my future prospects were next to nothing. Having a family background where education is part of life, I couldn’t believe that my only hope for a decent living was going up in smoke because someone in a position of authority decided to close colleges and universities across the country.

I had a newly found hope when the MDC was formed. Hope for a better Zimbabwe where everyone was going to have access to better education, access to health, better transport, no starvation and lots of jobs. It was hope and up to this day I am still hoping.

As with a new baby in a family everyone was so excited to embrace MDC then, the party was so innocent, full of hope, promises and energy. MDC’s founding principles were based on democracy, equality, clarity, a corruption-free society, social justice, rule of law and respecting property rights amongst others.

Now I wonder why then after eight years the MDC family is no longer the same. Just like Zanu Ndonga, we now have MDC Mutambara and MDC Tsvangirai — political parties with surnames! People fighting for positions, others using violence to get elected, some are even going to sangomas in the dead of night to enhance their chances of getting into power, while others are just following whoever promises them positions.

What has gone wrong over the years? Is it frustration among the leadership? We all agree that the political field is not fair but can we blame an uneven political playing field for fielding two presidential candidates? Four hundred and twenty legislators instead of 210? Can Zanu PF be blamed for disrespecting our party leadership?

Whatever happened to MDC leadership? Whether it is greed, infiltration or whatever, I strongly believe that at such times only the masses are losers. It’s always the masses who suffer when their leaders abandon them and fight for power. The result is that more time will be spent fighting for strategic positions. It is only two months left before the elections but all we get as voters and MDC supporters are negotiations — between Zanu PF and MDC, between MDC and MDC. If half the effort that has gone into negotiations was used on voter education, putting policies across, mobilising people to vote and strategising, I am sure there would be a big difference come March 29.

Elijah Mangwengwende,


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