by Charles Motsi
Zimbabwe is a democracy and that means that it can have as many political parties as it can carry, sadly, the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the past 20 years is hell bent on self-aggrandisement at the expense of national growth.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been crystal clear on his administration’s position regarding opposition politics defining it as the moral campus of the ruling party that brings in positive criticism and keeps the ruling party in line.
It is a shame really that the MDC has not taken up this national duty.
The MDC can, however, learn from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of South Africa. Even though they are a fairly young party in opposition politics they have exhibited tremendous levels of political maturity and national responsibility when compared to their local counterparts.
EFF is a home grown political party that was formed in 2013 by former African National Congress members led by Julius Malema, the fire breathing leader of the movement. Malema has stirred controversy for demanding the equal representation of the black masses of South Africa politically, socially and most importantly economically.
His insistence that blacks benefit from their country’s resources and not have them concentrated in the hands of a few white minority has seen him being treated as enemy number 1 by the white elements of his country who yearn for the good old days of Apartheid when blacks were second class citizens.
In contrast, the much older MDC that was formed in 1999 have been darlings of the west and white minorities of Zimbabwe who bankrolled them in anticipation of a successful regime change program that would have seen the protection of minority economic white privileges.
One of the EFF’s successes to date has been moving a motion in their National Assembly to amend the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. The motion was adopted in July 2018 with a vote of 241 in support, and 83 against. This means that blacks will be awarded land by the state and not have to pay for the land that is rightfully theirs.
It is no secret that the MDC was heavily funded by minority white farmers who wanted to ring-fence their position of privilege. If the MDC can just learn that standing with your own people is more gratifying than to be used for money, the party would be a worthy addition to the political family of this country.
As far back as 2002, the MDC has demanded that Zimbabwe be placed on economic sanctions which led to the enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA). A policy that is meant to economically squeeze the masses of Zimbabwe into a revolution against the ruling Zanu PF and in-turn into submission to the western york of neo-colonialism.
It is a relief that opposition politics in neighbouring South Africa is not this petty and self-centred. One might even call it treasonous to call for the imposition of chocking sanctions that have elevated people’s suffering just so that one gets political power.
The MDC, if ever they are to take a leaf from EFF, the motto should be to always side with your own and not the enemy because sanctions hurt everyone not just those you intend to unseat.
The EFF has only taken part in two national elections but in this short space of time they have gained more experience and a better understanding of the democratic landscape than the MDC. EFF currently holds 44 national assembly seats but they acknowledge their shortcomings when they lose and move on with a positive attitude, this formula has earned them the respect of the electorate.
In sharp contrast the MDC has blamed every loss they have ever encountered at the ballot box to Zanu PF and some nonsensical scapegoating such as invisible ink instead of just accepting defeat and learning from their losses. Even when the highest court in the land has ruled against them they chose not to respect it.
As the world is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic it is not the time to be political and trivial. This is why the EFF has thrown its weight behind government efforts to minimise the effects of the virus. EFF has been mature enough to recognise that government must take the lead and they act as one in face of this global pandemic. But not our own MDC, no no no, they have chosen to be as petty as ever and create parallel structures to those of government just to irritate Zanu PF hence, missing the point that this is not a party problem but a national issue.
Time and time again the MDC has exhibited a propensity to grandstanding and only care for personal political gain at the expense of national interests. If only they would learn from the opposition politics that builds nations from EFF and not their brand that holds back national growth.