Tanonoka Joseph Whande
Monday, March 11th, 2013
A few days ago, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Eric Matinenga, told journalists that if leaders like himself did not stay long in power, Zimbabwe would not have fallen in the mess in which it finds itself in today.
Although it was in apparent reference to President Robert Mugabe, Matinenga could as well have included his own party president Morgan Tsvangirai in that category of politicians who do not know when to quit and let younger, fresher minds step in to serve the nation.
Something happens to people when they gain power and no one illustrates this more than both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, for none of these two men have been able to uphold the aims they espoused at the time they took office.
I am especially unhappy with Mr Tsvangirai because, unlike Zanu-Pf, his party was formed to avoid making the same mistakes that Zanu-Pf made.
The MDC came on the scene knowing what not to do and in Zanu-Pf, the MDC had a guiding light on how not to govern a country.
I am at a loss for words to understand what the MDC stands for anymore because the decisions they make, the concessions they give and the leadership style they now impose on its followers are getting further and further away from the reasons people formed this party in the first place.
The way decisions are made at the MDC is a disgrace to say the least. There doesn’t seem to be any planning or fore-sight in decision making.
At the inception of the Unity Government, SADC put on the table conditions that would have to be met before elections can be held.
It was all agreed that all the outstanding issues would have to be implemented first before a move towards elections could be entertained.
Without any doubt, just like the targeted sanctions, the conditions laid down by SADC benefitted the MDC more than Zanu-Pf.
But as the MDC leadership got more and more comfortable in the unity government, they forgot about the need to force their counterparts to implement the outstanding issues of the GPA.
They, instead, enjoyed the ride on the gravy train and forgot all about their mandate.
Now elections are looming; nasty experiences and issues that could have been prevented had the MDC fought vigorously for the implementation of the outstanding issues are upon us once again.
Violence is on the increase – something that could have been curtailed had the MDC worked for the implementation of outstanding issues.
State media is the preserve of Zanu-Pf and Mugabe while it demonises Tsvangirai and his party, again, something that could have been handled were outstanding issues implemented.
Civil organisations are being threatened, human rights campaigners are being harassed, arrested and have their offices frequently raided.
MDC Members of Parliament are being arrested and stopped from working within their constituencies.
And to crown it all, Tsvangirai himself is being barred by police from addressing the people, the latest of such incident being last Tuesday when police blocked Tsvangirai from addressing the people to urge them to vote ‘yes’ for the draft constitution, ironically something that Mugabe would have appreciated.
But the police booted Tsvangirai away from the venue and gave their usually silly explanations as to why that had happened.
We don’t need permission to gather and talk about a draft consititution the referendum of which is only days away.
All these issues could have been dealt with had the MDC listened to the people and to SADC and campaigned for the implementation of the itemised outstanding issues.
But, no! The MDC ignored all this and went on a spree of appeasing Mugabe, making unnecessary concessions without getting anything in return.
Now, it is becoming clear that the MDC has been had. Now they realise they have been conned.
Tsvangirai has now dispatched a high-level team of party officials to SADC and the region “to drum up support” and warn SADC to keep an eye on Mugabe since he has started his shenanigans again.
“This is a clear sign that the leopard has not changed its spots,” said Nelson Chamisa, MDC’s National Organising Secretary.
But we told them many times yet Tsvangirai and his party leadership went it alone for all these years, paying little attention to the changes that SADC had ordered to be made before elections, paying no attention to the people’s concerns.
We now see incoherence; the MDC leadership is not together on most issues, making us wonder who makes decisions in that party and whether or not decisions are by consensus.
MDC Secretary General, Tendai Biti, on Wednesday told South African President Jacob Zuma’s mediation team that “the time was not ripe for fresh elections”.
“We pointed out that the security situation was deteriorating, giving the death of Christpowers Maisiri as an example,” Biti said.
But have we, in and outside Zimbabwe, not been telling them this same thing for a long, long time and they chose not to listen?
How pathetic that this young innocent 12-year-old soul, caught in the crossfire between his parents’ political beliefs and a rabid Zanu-Pf, was burned to death in his little hut for reasons he had nothing to do with and is now being used as the reason Zimbabwe cannot hold elections.
Would it not be better for Mr Biti and the MDC to admit that they slept on the job, gave Zanu-Pf too many concessions and were busy thinking of themselves rather than listening to advice from the people?
The heart of the matter is that Christpowers is not the reason why Zimbabwe cannot hold elections. We cannot hold elections because of the MDC who squandered chance after chance to set Zimbabwe on the right path. They had opportunities to arm-twist Zanu-Pf on a variety of issues because Zanu-Pf needed the MDC more than the MDC needed Zanu-Pf.
But they got caught up in a race of greed, with MDC MPs siding with their Zanu-Pf counterparts in demanding money, land, computers, four-wheel-drive vehicles and thousands and thousands of dollars to do work in their constituencies where they are already being paid as sitting MPs.
The country is in a mess and we are finding it harder and harder to tell the difference between the opposition and ruling party.
It might be a good idea for the MDC leadership not only to listen to Eric Matinenga’s statement now but to adopt and implement those views.
The MDC thinks it reached the summit; they believe they are at the top.
I need to remind Mr Tsvangirai, Mr Biti and their team that from up the summit, all roads and paths lead downwards.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Monday, March 11th, 2013.
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