By Nobleman Runyanga
This Friday the Nelson Chamisa-led is set to stage a protest in Harare over almost everything that the opposition party’s members could think of.
Some of its members such as secretary for public service and social welfare, Maureen Kademaunga are protesting over the cost of living which is symbolised by the $10 price tag on bread. To excitable members of the party such as Chamisa’s spokesman, Nkululeko Sibanda, youth assembly leader, Obey Sithole, youth assembly secretary general, Gift Siziba and national deputy chairman, Job Sikhala, the protest represents an opportunity to overthrow the constitutionally-elected President of Zimbabwe and replace him unconstitutionally with Chamisa who was rejected in the ballot by the electorate on 30 July last year.
To Chamisa the planned protest is a means to fulfil the threat of unleashing war on Zimbabwe which he made in Gweru during his party’s charade of an elective congress in May this year. It is an opportunity and only way for him to get the electoral victory which he had promised his excitable and impressionable youths but was denied by electorate.
To the rank and file membership of the party especially the youth, participating in a protest with no meaningful and defined agenda is just a means of ventilating their frustration with a leader who they believed had everything staked in his favour to snatch the presidential election victory but was denied by the electorate because he had nothing meaningful to promise them.
The planned protest is an outlet for the frustrated opposition members who feel hugely let down by Chamisa who, despite his youth, failed to break the MDC’s electoral jinx which saw his predecessor, the late Morgan Tsvangirai failing to unseat ZANU PF for almost 20 years, to unleash their pent-up negative emotions. Chamisa, despite holding the hopes of his party’s members, failed them through his shameless lies and out-of-touch utopian promises and only succeeded in maintaining his party’s unbeaten record of playing second fiddle to ZANU PF.
Enemies of democracy
When Chamisa’s party was founded 20 years ago it was named the Movement for Democratic Change which means that its main quest was to unseat ZANU PF using democratic means. For the larger part of the party’s history under Tsvangirai’s stewardship it was generally democratic and orderly except for the abuse of the constitutional right to protest by its youth and those belonging to the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) initiative who unleashed violence and destruction in Harare on 24 and 26 August 2016 respectively. Tsvangirai largely managed to rein in the restive youths during his tenure while Chamisa wants to behave like a youth and lead the party at the same time.
One wonders what kind of a democratic opposition political party the MDC is, which thinks that participating in a ZANU PF process to change its guard in November 2017 entitled it to get into power-sharing deal in the absence of elections as set out in the constitution. President Emmerson Mnangagwa just took over the leadership of ZANU PF and completed his predecessor, Robert Mugabe’s Presidential term and this did not warrant any consultation with let alone entering into a power-sharing deal with the opposition. Chamisa’s overtures to be included in President Mnangagwa’s November 2017 to 29 July 2018 Government lay bare that he is not in politics to serve the people as he wants the world to believe. He is so power-hungry that he is prepared to shred the democracy rule book both in his party and outside in order to rule Zimbabwe.
One wonders what kind of democratic party the MDC is which insists only on an electoral result in its favour? During the last election campaign season, despite claiming that he was sufficiently popular to beat President Mnangagwa, he declared that he would not accept results in which he was not a winner. Before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was done with collating and announcing election results on 1 August 2018, MDC yobs were all over Harare’s city centre wreaked all manner of violence and destruction in protest again the electoral body which was still carrying out its constitutional mandate. An opposition party which fights key democratic institutions such as ZEC is an enemy of democracy and has no moral high ground to protest against a sitting Government let alone maintain a name which includes the adjective democratic. That party becomes an enemy of the very people that it purports to represent.
A political party, whose senior leaders such as Sikhala who shamelessly threaten national peace and security by overthrowing a constitutionally-chosen Head of State, is not a representative, upholder of and believer in the sacred concept of democracy. What is democracy if the defeated resort to undemocratic means of getting into power? Granted, every opposition party is in place to endear itself to the electorate so that one day it can get into power but doing so using unconstitutional means is a mark of lack of political discipline and desperation.
One is not surprised by Chamisa’s dogged insistence on a non-existent legitimacy crisis despite his loss and failure to prove his baseless charge that ZEC rigged the election in favour of President Mnangagwa in a Supreme Court petition. The guy knows that the moment that he admits and accepts his electoral loss it means losing the respect of his party members’ respect. It means loss of political relevance. It also means that other senior party members such as his deputies Tendai Biti and Prof Welshman Ncube who cannot wait to see his back will move in to wrest the party from him. The planned protest should therefore be viewed in the context of an increasingly weakening Chamisa who is desperately looking for anything to claw on for relevance and political survival.
As the MDC leaders and members stage a protest this week, they should know that ZEC did not rig the presidential election to favour President Mnangagwa. Chamisa was denied victory by the electorate who rejected him due to his inelectability which is born out of lack of sound ideology, childish electoral promises and generally poor mettle as a political leader.
Over the past week the MDC secretary general, Charlton Hwende had egg on his face when attempted to demand his party’s share of $3.8 million in Political Parties (Funding) Act proceeds from Treasury. The initiative had been based on the false information which the party had to the effect that Treasury had released ZANU PF’s allocation to the ruling party leaving the opposition feeling disadvantaged.
It took clarification from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana’s statement to the effect that Government was yet to release funding to any party, ZANU PF included, for Hwende to sheepishly fold his tail and withdraw in embarrassment. The MDC’s insatiable love for money at the expense of serving the people in the various constituencies where it won had, however, been brought to the fore. This drove home the point that the MDC is in politics for any opportunities for money than to serve people. The land grab in urban local authorities like Chitungwiza by MDC councillors since 2000 attests to this shameless vice on the part of that party’s officials.
The behaviour of its legislators further cements this observation. The legislators walk out each time President Mnangagwa addresses Parliament to protest his victory and as a gesture of refusing to accept his presidency but when it comes to benefits which are administered by his Government such as motor vehicles and diplomatic passports they momentarily forget about Chamisa’s electoral loss to the President.
What can one say of the double-faced lawyers in the MDC such as Sikhala who during the day condemn corruption allegedly on the part of ZANU PF members but rush to represent the same people because of the perceived monetary gains to be made therefrom? During one of his campaign rallies Chamisa shamelessly promised that if he won, he would allow MDC members to benefit from his Government for sometime before serving everyone else. What of the false “Patakasangana naTrump (When we met the American President, Donald Trump) statement?
All these scenarios point to the fact that Chamisa and the MDC are in politics for the money and not to serve people. Chamisa sees his loss as missing out on the chance to enjoy money. He views President Mnangagwa as a stumbling block to unfettered access to Treasury for his own personal benefit. This is why he only perfunctorily distanced the party from Sikhala’s treasonable statement. Despite being on bail the latter continues to repeat the statement with no rebuke from Chamisa. This is because Chamisa is desperate to get into Government by whatever means.
As the MDC rolls out its unwarranted protests this week, Zimbabweans should know that its motive is not better life for Zimbabweans but wealthy life for Chamisa and his retinue of hangers-on such as Hwende by using the party’s youth to unleash mayhem on the country to force President Mnangagwa to accommodate the poor losers in Government through mechanisms such as the National Transitional Authority (NTA), itself a brainchild of Biti.
As the MDC pushes for protests, let it know that President Mnangagwa, ZANU PF and the Government of Zimbabwe do not owe Chamisa and his party anything – neither an electoral victory nor a cent from Treasury as Government is currently prioritising the welfare of Zimbabweans ahead of opportunistic political parties.