MDC-T forced to play second fiddle to Zanu PF

Paidamoyo Muzulu

MDC-T leaders’ lack of strategy and political skill to package their programmes has made them play second fiddle to Zanu PF in the inclusive government for the last two years, political analysts said this week.

 

The analysts said although MDC-T has been working quietly behind the scenes, this has created an image of non-action in addressing core national problems like electoral reforms, intermittent fuel shortages and the progress in civil servants’ wage negotiations, among a host of other issues. 
Crisis Coalition programmes manager and political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said: “MDC leaders are doing well but have failed to score the political points to their credit. They are acting more professionally, forgetting that they have a political role to play too.

“They (MDC-T) should develop the political skin to confront their colleagues in government and parliament on handling issues such as the civil servants’ wages. “The minister of Finance (Tendai Biti) should be able to put it to the nation where Mugabe is getting the money from diamonds to pay the civil servants and where the money was all along?”

Media Resource Centre director Ernest Mudzengi believes the MDC-T is trying its best under very difficult circumstances in the inclusive government.
“Although it has its weaknesses, MDC has tried,” Mudzengi said, “It’s Zanu PF machinations that create the image of MDC-T appearing as if they are doing nothing.”

University of Zimbabwe Constitutional Law Lecturer, Greg Linnington said the MDC-T had only nominal power in the inclusive government, which made it difficult for them to implement things.

“Is the MDC enjoying the trappings of power? Do they have the power itself?” questions Linnington, “I don’t think so.”

Prime Minister and MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai’s Government Work Plan Programme for 2010 is gathering dust with nothing being implemented. This is despite the fact that he is the leader of government business in parliament.

The country has been operating on autopilot since mid-December last year when cabinet last met after Mugabe went on his annual leave.
Linnington said the office of the prime minister has been reduced to an ornament just to give a rosy picture of power sharing.

Sction 20.1.4 (f) of the GPA says the Prime Minister “shall ensure that the legislation necessary to enable the government to carry out its functions is in place: in this regard, he/she shall have the responsibility to discharge the functions of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament.”
Tsvangirai and his party have failed to push hard for the implementation of the Global Political Agreement so that he could effectively lead government business in the House.

Two years down the line, after the formation of the inclusive government, Parliament’s Standing Orders and Regulations Committee (SORC) is yet to meet and agree on when Tsvangirai should come to the House and answer questions as the leader of government business.
Many analysts have tried to examine the skewed power dynamics in the inclusive government to see what each political party can deliver within the coalition arrangement constructed after the signing of the Global Political Agreement two years ago.

“The inclusive government has exposed the MDC-T’s weaknesses. Local authorities headed by the party have been proved to be corrupt,” Charles Mangongera said, “This has been compounded by the WikiLeaks cables that exposed MDC leadership as weak and indecisive.”
The MDC-T has continued to whine about Zanu PF and Mugabe’s intransigence as if they are an opposition party and not part of the coalition government.

Ministers from the MDC-T have been isolated by the government’s bureaucratic system which takes instructions from the other arm of government run by Zanu PF.

MDC’s impotence was further exposed in November last year when it was whipped into submission by Zanu PF to amend Finance Bill No.2 that had already passed through the House of Assembly. It did not try to put the matter to the vote and use its numerical advantage in the lower House but conceded without a fight.

Tshwane University of Technology lecturer Ricky Mukonza argues that the MDC-T leadership is failing to read the political terrain as dictated by Zanu PF and is in for a rude awakening.

“I think Zanu PF is taking its campaign to the urban areas if you consider the intensification of its media propaganda whose main consumers are urbanites,” Mukonza said. “Also look at the emphasis on the takeover of foreign-owned companies, all this is meant to entice the more literate urban population. MDC-T needs to be on guard, instead of thinking that the urban population will automatically vote for the party.”
The MDC-T’s lack of strategy was also shown in Addis Ababa, where a team of junior officers was sent to lobby the African Union Commission to keep Zimbabwe on its radar.

The team, headed by Kambuzuma MP and deputy International Affairs secretary Willis Madzimure arrived in Addis Ababa three days after the summit had started and analysts say an effective lobby of the continental body, which is composed of different states with different biases and alliances, should have started months before the conference.

According to sources at the commission, the presentation was not impressive and showed political immaturity.

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa acknowledges the difficulty his party has been facing in working with Zanu PF in the inclusive government.
“We are working with difficult partners. The government is saddled with a highly politicised and partisan civil service,” Chamisa said, “We are engaged in a process that should produce national civil service which serve the interests of all Zimbabweans. We are still limping in terms of democratisation”.

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