Friday, June 03, 2011

(TALKZIMBABWE) MDC-T now a lame-duck party

MDC-T now a lame-duck party
Posted by By Our reporter at 3 June, at 00 : 13 AM Print

THE MDC-T party is now a lame-duck party, with lame-duck leaders, lame-duck policies and has no credible vision for a future Zimbabwe. It is not, and has never been, a party of change, as it claims.

For instance it opposed change in land ownership, change in running of the economy, and opposed the policy of indigenisation and empowerment – all policies that symbolise change. So what exactly did the MDC-T want to change?

The problem with that party is that its existence was always based on an agenda that was not Zimbabwean in nature and did not understand the day-to-day struggles of the Zimbabwean people, nor appreciate how complicated the Zimbabwean problem was.

You cannot constrict a century old colonial problem into a couple of years, neither can you erase the memories of those fighters who faced evil in the eye, slept in the open and dodged bullets fighting for their own land.

The MDC-T was formed in response to the land reform programme and built its fortunes on the bilateral dispute between the Zimbabwean government and Britain’s Labour Party.

It was thus primarily formed to perpetuate the interests of the British New Labour Party, and protect the property of right wing elements in and outside Zimbabwe.

That is why it advocates issues like property rights, when Black Zimbabweans own no property; wants foreign invstors rather than empower own people; and wants newspapers and media funded by outside agencies.

The MDC-T got support from disgruntled elements from the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), whose farms had been designated for compulsory acquisition by government – after Britain reneged from Lancaster House obligations regarding land financing.

That party, therefore, started its life on very narrow interests and narrow issues which had no resonance with the majority of the Black population. It, therefore, naturally took the persona of a pressure group from its inception.

It also absorbed impressionable elements from the student movement, who had little or no experience in the real world. These elements were to become legislators and subsequently occupy positions of authority within MDC-T structures.

As these elements awake from their slumber, reality is now creeping in and the sleepwalking of yesteryear has come to haunt them.

All statements they uttered in haste are all recorded, and all they can do now is fire-fight, or drown in shame.

The MDC-T organisation has, thus far, failed to transform itself into a credible political party that can offer an alternative ideology to that of Zanu-PF, that’s why it vascillates between supporting indigenisation and downright denigration of it; or bring onto the table issues they do not really believe in, like gay rights or the publication of politicians’ assets.

We still have to hear from the MDC-T on their real position on these issues.

Its narrow interests have failed to be transformed into a real national agenda; and its bunch of unskilled leadership has failed to transform into credible leadership over the eleven years or so the party has been in existence.

Tsvangirai himself is far from being a statesman, as his rhetoric often shows signs of an embattled and unprincipled disciple of the West.

Because he cannot convince the Zimbabwean population at home and abroad that they should support him, he finds comfort in the likes of Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga or when he is courting Sadc – an organisation he has opposed for a good part of the last ten years.

Chickens are indeed coming home to roost.

Tsvangirai is moving inwards: from the West, to the African Union, to Sadc. He will come back home eventually to face the real issues.

And with donor fatigue and a tightening budget, this party will soon face its demise and will have to look inwards for salvation.

The MDC-T leadership has failed to articulate a believable agenda for Zimbabwe and provide an alternative narrative to that of Zanu-PF.

The difficulty is that one cannot fight indigenisation without attracting the ire of the majority Black population. There is also no credible alternative narrative to the land question or to indigenisation that can be offered by the MDC-T.

The MDC-T has thus largely remained a party of protest, as it cannot offer own policies.

It has also resorted to survival tactics after failing to solidify its existence on the Zimbabwean political scene – like buying off Sadc facilitators to create stories about violence in the country; when their own fraction of the home office ministry has failed to highlight that issue.

As the Labour party in Britain and Republican party in America were replaced in government in the last few years, and as the recession bit Europe and America, the MDC-T has remained without an identity both at home and internationally; and has lost funding and friends.

It had, thus far, survived on Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W. Bush’s political tantrums. This trio is now as discredited in international affairs as Tsvangirai is discredited in African affairs.

The party drew its energy from the fights between the CFU, civil society organisations in Zimbabwe and government; and occasional mindless outbursts by a coterie of thugs within that party and activist media.

This is the dilemma of a pressure group that masquerades as a political party. It cannot trust itself, its agenda, nor its agents. Ultimately it self-destructs.

Political parties are complicated and complex organisations. They have a life of their own. To take over power, anywhere in the world, you have to offer the grassroots something credible and show that you have an ideology that can resonate with the grassroots.

The MDC-T does not have that capacity, intellectually or otherwise.

The leadership of the MDC-T is showing signs of weariness.

In fact, most of their vocal leaders are now so wearied by their own political lies that they are taking comfort in an inclusive Government led by President Robert Mugabe.

Occasionally you hear the shrill voice of Tsvangirai, Biti, Chamisa or Mwonzora – and of course John Makumbe – but it’s not the characteristic roar they exuded from 2000 to 2008.

Most of the activists have self-pruned from the MDC-T trunk and some are even secretly courting Zanu-PF to resuscitate their fledgling careers. They simply do not believe they will get the favours they expected to get from the MDC-T.

While the likes of indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, tourism minister Walter Mzembi, justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, mines minister Obert Mpofu, and others are showing renewed strength; the likes of ICT minister Nelson Chamisa, finance minister Tendai Biti and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai seem to be deflating and losing the student-like activist mojo on which they had built their party.

While Zanu-PF ministers are trying hard to engage investors, sell diamonds, get farms working and ensure Zimbabwe’s national security is guaranteed; the MDC-T is worrying about the composition of its national executive, or how much money Roy Bennett will raise to fund their election campaign.

They concentrate their energies on how they can make the country ungovernable to escalate their rhetoric of violence,and court the people of Zimbabwe, Sadc, the AU and the United Nations.

They are trying to create conditions unconducive for elections so as to buy time to raise money to fund their election campaign. They have blinded Zimbabweans to believe that there will be violence at the next election.

The irony is that it is their elections that have been marred by violence.

In any case, this is the only “democratic party” that does not want elections; yet there is no better test of democracy than the right to vote.

Their only offer to Zimbabwe is cheap politicking and mindless statements like: “We are a party of excellence” or “Mugabe cannot go on unchecked”.

Surely you cannot build a political organisation on such cheap statements or narrow interests. There comes a time when those statements become counterproductive and start biting those who utter them. Ask Chamisa, that once acidic spokesman of the lame-duck party; who always found acres of media space on lame-duck pirate radio stations.

The MDC-T rhetoric is now almost as predictable as that of its supporting media agents and series of illiterate and ill-informed political and economic ‘commentators’.

They simply have nothing else to talk about except the mistakes made by Zanu-PF. Surely that cannot be a reason for existence.

Zanu-PF, in the meantime, is learning from its mistakes.

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