INTROSPECTION is generally examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings.
Candid Comment with Brian Mangwende
In psychology, the process of introspection relies exclusively on observation of one’s mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one’s soul.
According to scholars such as German philosopher-psychologists Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, Johann Nicolaus Tetens and Wilhelm Wundt, introspection provides a privileged access to our own mental states, not mediated by other sources of knowledge, so that individual experience of the mind is unique. Introspection is often compared with perception, reason, memory, testimony and knowledge.
Plato asked: “Why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?”
This brings me to why I’m talking about introspection, not just as a word but a philosophical-psychological concept. Now that President-elect Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s landslide victory has been widely endorsed by most African countries and it is almost certain there is not going to be a re-run of the recent general elections, it’s time for the MDC-T to stop crying foul and self-introspect.
The MDC-T — and indeed other parties such as the MDC and Zapu — should ask themselves what went wrong to avoid similar situations in the next elections.
Granted, the MDC-T and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai have a constitutional and legal right to challenge results of elections they feel were rigged, but they should also look at themselves in the mirror and review the situation.
Tsvangirai and his party had several options before elections and they chose what they wanted, but it did not work.
For instance, the MDC-T had an option to pull out of the polls after it became clear Zanu PF was not going to back down on poll dates and implement agreed resolutions after the Maputo summit.
The party also saw the writing on the wall in terms of how the elections were organised and run. It chose to go into the race despite evidence of irregularities, hoping a massive turnout would win the day.
The party, which channelled its energies towards reform, dictated by the dysfunctional Global Political Agreement, also failed to analyse the politics on the ground. It also took the electorate for granted, while it under-estimated Zanu PF.
Throughout the coalition government, MDC-T failed to make alliances with other parties to create a broader front against Zanu PF. And then there was the MDC-T arrogance shown by impositions of candidates who eventually lost.
The most damning thing though was the party leadership’s naivety exhibited by going into elections without adequately inspecting the voters’ roll. How does that happen?
If the MDC-T wants to survive and make an impact in the next elections, they must start preparing for a post-Mugabe era and deal with the environment and specific issues which delivered this outcome.
It must begin assessing its structures and ask whether it has the right leadership that can deliver positive results in 2018.
Do the people in key positions have leadership qualities? Does the party have policies that resonate with the people? It has to come up with policies and campaign strategies which address the people’s interests.
Given that Tsvangirai has fought elections in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008 and now and ended up defeated, should he remain there?