By Makusha Mugabe
The story published in The Zimbabwean last week about Jaison Matewu is a typical example of the lip-service that the MDC’s national leadership pays to its diaspora members to encourage them to contribute to the party while not accepting its members when they decide to come and play a role at home.
The comments attributed to national organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, indicate that he personally did not know Matewu, but he should have asked the Provincial Executive of Mashonaland East, which has been in touch with Matewu’s MDC South West District since before the last election.
Mashonaland East Province has benefited from donations organised by Matewu from his Portsmouth Branch and from South West District, including computers which were donated to Nyameni School in the name of MDC. Matewu was never the one to insist on taking credit for that, but all he wanted was to advance the party’s name.
He has been a member in good standing for more than eight years – a founder chairman of Portsmouth Branch and first provincial organising secretary after the MDC was recognised at the 2006 Congress and became an External Assembly.
His spirit is typical of diaspora members who just wanted to contribute to the liberation of their country, and only in 2006 after years of contributing, asked to be recognized as an organ of the party, which was put to the 2006 and accepted, because of the recognized activities of the branches in the UK and in other diaspora countries.
As provincial organising secretary Matewu used his own premises and transport and mobilised people throughout South East District, establishing other branches and bringing hundreds of people into the party.
Then he went further to establish districts to help him manage the provincial membership, teaching people about the party, while travelling tirelessly and devoting his own time for gap-fillings at all districts until they all started working well.
Fund raising activities which have seen thousands being raised for the twinning programme to help those candidates and the party back home were undertaken through his efforts.
During his time as the Provincial Organising Secretary he used to make sure that if the UK had visitors coming from Zimbabwe he would run around and devote his own time, forsake his own job to make sure accommodation was in place for them and that their travel arrangements were sorted out.
He can be said to have single-handedly organised all the districts in MDC UK and even up to now officials rely on his mailing lists as they are the most comprehensive membership lists in the UK.
If Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa did not know him personally it is because as information and publicity secretary he did not deal with diaspora organizers directly.
But this is exactly as it should be. As a party of excellence the MDC has rejected that the relations between officials should be on a personal level. Matewu would have had a letter from the MDC UK Province introducing him and his good work, and that would have been sufficient to put him in good standing with the Province.
And if the district chairman quoted by The Zimbabwean did not know Matewu it was because from UK Matewu was dealing with the Provincial Executive who were receiving the donations sent by his Portsmouth Branch in the name of MDC to schools and the community, and which were delivered by the MDC Provincial Executive.
The national chairman, Lovemore Moyo, who made several visits to the UK, would obviously have known him, as do other national leaders who visited the UK, from Theresa Makone, to Tamsanqa Mahlangu and others.
So the national organising secretary should not have expected and should not expect that he should know everyone – this is where nepotism begins. MDC UK Province knows him and would have recommended him or written a reference for him to Mashonaland East, which is how it is supposed to be done.
Matewu is a committed MDC leader and, like many others in the diaspora has waited for the national leadership to pronounce the modalities for diaspora members who wanted to come home and contribute. In fact he was answering a call made by the President Morgan Tsvangirai when he was here, that diaspora members should come home and join the struggle.
In fact Chamisa himself when he was in the UK a month ago also said the same thing, that diaspora members who wanted to come home and contest were free to do so – all they needed to show was that they were members in good standing and, if they had the support of their district, they could also join the primaries process where candidates would be decided.
The acting chairperson of MDC UK South West District, Lorna Chivandire, said “I personally went to receive resources in the form of a computer and books from one of the local schools which were organised by Mr Matewu, and these were donated to Nyameni School in Marondera.
“We as a district have also been raising donations as part of our twinning programme, which were all supposed to go to Zimbabwe to help support our twinned province party and our candidates in that province.
“These things did not go in the name of Matewu but Portsmouth MDC Branch. Let’s give credit where it’s due and focus on our agenda to Liberate Zimbabwe and not waste our energy on non-fundamental issues. How can it be now that Matewu is in Zimbabwe, people, including the national organising secretary, can claim that he is not known to belong to MDC?”
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