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Ethnic hegemony in MDC to counter Zanu PF’s

“An eye for an eye,” Zimbabwe faces ethnic explosion writes Levi Mhaka

The labels of Shona (Karanga, Zezuru, Korekore, Manyika, etc), Ndebele can be considered superficial to a certain degree. We are all human beings faced with the same challenges and difficulties in life and desire for a better life with expanding opportunities.

MDC-T bigwigs Tendai Biti, Lovemore Moyo, Morgan Tsvangirai, Thokozani Khupe, Nelson Chamisa and Theresa Makone at a press conference

These ethnic labels are NOT relevant in situation of poverty, deprivation and lack of personal freedom. There is nothing Shona, Ndebele or anything deeper when we focus on us simply being human enough. You are either a human being or you behave like a savage or a beast.

Human-made conflicts around ethnicity and religion are the worst in Africa killing more people than all diseases and epidemics combined. The deliberate ethnic and religious dehumanization of the other has diverted attention to more pressing matters. The conflict in Cote d’Ivoire is ethnic and religious. The loss of lives in Nigeria is ethnic and religious.

People are not responding with “love” but with hate and anger against the groups like Mthwakazi. It is tyranny and dictatorship that leads to feelings of exclusion and desire and fight for secession.

The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Sudan, Indonesia broke up because of  tyranny and dictatorship. Ethnic and religious identities are social constructs. We are socially wired to view others different from us as not human enough or less human.

The highest common denominator as human beings can be deduced from the Rotary International 4-way Test for public matters:

1. Is it the Truth?

2. Is it Fair to all concerned.

3. Will it build Goodwill and better Friendship?

4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned and the least advantaged?

I hope the manner of my article passes the above test.

Can we not take a deep breath and see the need for dignity of every human being. How does one know that this or that person is Shona (Karanga, Zezuru, Korekore, Manyika, etc) or Ndebele, etc?

There are people who settled in regions beyond their places of origin and assimilated into the local life. Do they become identified with the new ethnic home or their original?

Can one prove that this or that person is a “pure” Shona (Karanga, Zezuru, Korekore, Manyika, etc) or Ndebele? Do you prove that one is of that tribe or ethnic group – paternally, maternally, surname, language, village?

The very disease that holds us hostage as a people is very tribal. At least I can prove that I am Zimbabwean by the legal documents as defined by the country’s constitutional.

Why should want to dehumanize those of Malawian or Zambian origin yet they are Zimbabweans? Do we want ot dehumanize the children of our aunts, sisters and daughters whose fathers may be unknown or another ethnic group as mine?

The truth or issues we should be concerned about is that which brings peace, which addresses the social ills like poverty, ignorance and disease. These are things that which bring us together when we wish humanity to enjoy fulfillment.

With this background, we need to approach matters of ethnic and regional demographics in Africa in a very sensitive way not to be swept under the carpet. While I am not a ZANU PF or MDC, I notice that the MDC was formed specifically to create a Karanga hegemony as a counter to the collective Zezuru and Korekore hegemony in ZANU PF. Therefore the MDC is using evil machinations to fight a devil instead a good to fight a devil.

Tribalism or ethnicism is an epidemic in Africa no matter how much Western-educated the Africans are. On matters ethnic and religious, Africans project an image of educated savagery. I have read articles from well educated fellow Africans but full of tribal justification like villagers.

When one reads articles by the very educated Africans on matters ethnic and religious, its not different from a letter dictated by our grandparents who expect us to be more sensitive about fellow human beings of a different gender, ethnic group or nationality. On other matters, educated Africans can be very nobly cosmopolitan, but on matters ethnic and religious, oh gosh, very gullible and myopic.

As the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC prepares for its elective Congress in Bulawayo, I am saddened to notice that the party is another ethnic hegemony like ZANU PF whose centre is unashamedly controlled by the Zezuru and Korekore.

I’m failing to notice non-Karangas fighting it out in the very senior positions even if they lose or just a mere nomination. I have also not noticed any real issues being discussed around the Congress and even the media has been silent except the Newday’s editorial on April 28, 2011 (www.newsday.co.zw/article/2011-04-27-mdct-congress-should-address-national-needs).

The Party’s Policy Research and Development should be the least busy of any modern political party when approaching such an event, yet the biggest function and power of a Congress is to formulate and supervise the implementation of policies, principles and programmes of the Party.

The media and well-meaning observers are failing to identify the major support “base” interests coming together under the banner of the MDC. Disregarding the personalities, personal interests and weak factional affiliation, if i am to do so, I will say they are the “trade-union and civic interests”; and the “middle-class and business interests.”

The future of the MDC and this country is not an annihilation of each base by the other but a balance through a “union of opposites” which in the Eastern philosophy is called the concept of “yin yang” or the doctrine of “coincidentia oppositorum,” the interpenetration, interdependence and unification of opposites in Jewish mysticism. 

The “trade-union and civic interests” base is redistributive (demand-side economics or leftist) while the the middle-class and business interests” base is supply-side economics (centralist). The supply-side economical approach is the “New Labour” that made Tony Blair to win elections in Britain and when Gordon Brown tried to make the Party more leftist, Labour Party lost an election.

Which “base” (I am avoiding using the word “faction” because it is a always a fluid aspect) side does each of the contestants identify with? Without the “middle-class and business oriented” base, Morgan Tsvangirai would have a Munyaradzi Gwisai, full of furry but without ideas to make the country productive.

This approach is leftist or redistributive and therefore just like the ZANU PF thinking that has bankrupted the country. On a tribal or ethnic “base,” the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC is embarassingly too Karanga.

I know politics is a game of numbers but we want even the minimal numbers fighting it out. The Democratic Alliance of South Africa is reaching out for the blacks even if it means doing so affirmatively.

Their reaching out is then packaged in a way tht makes sense in an inter-party competitive environment and on merit. Everything about the “Karanga-ness” of the MDC is for me by design based on ethnic-based intolerance.

Why is it so openly clear that non-Karangas are not competing in the MDC? There are no visible provincial power centres in the MDC. There are no visible national officers, MDC-aligned government officials (politicians and technical staffers) and party officers outside of Harare and Bulawayo. Apparently those of Harare are all Karangas.

Karangas are deliberately crowding out members from other provinces.

Why is it that if Ndebeles raise the same valid concerns about Shonas, people will not respond by saying that the Ndebeles have a “beef” with Shonas? Why is it that if women raise the same valid concerns about men, people will not respond by saying that women have a “beef” with men?

Let us look at the numbers to support my observations. The following ethnic identification is based on surname, village of origin and dialect on interaction with them, and is subject for correction.

The MDC Party National Standing Committee Leadership:

1. Morgan Tsvangirai: President – Shona/Karanga (although based in Buhera)

2. Thokozani Khupe: Vice President – Ndebele/?

3. Lovemore Moyo: National Chairman – Ndebele/?

4. Tendai Biti: Secretary General – Shona/Karanga

5. Tapiwa Mashakada (DSG) – Shona/Karanga

6. Roy Bennett: Treasurer General – Caucasian/British-origin

7. Elton Mangoma: Deputy Treasurer General – Shona/Manyika

8. Elias Mudzuri: Organizing Secretary – Shona/Karanga

9. Morgen Komichi: Deputy Organizing Secretary – Shona/Karanga

10. Nelson Chamisa: Secretary for Information & Publicity – Shona/Karanga

11. Theresa Makone: National Women Chairperson – Shona/Zezuru

12. Thamsanqa Mahlangu: National Youth Chairperson – Ndebele/?

National Standing Committee (NSC) ethnic and gender representation: 2 women, 1 Zezuru, 1 Manyika, 1 Caucasian, 3 Ndebeles, 7 Karangas.

The MDC Party National Executive Leadership:

1. Morgan Tsvangirai: President – Shona/Karanga (although based in Buhera)

2. Thokozani Khupe: Vice President – Ndebele/?

3. Lovemore Moyo: National Chairman – Ndebele/?

4. Tendai Biti: Secretary General – Shona/Karanga

5. Tapiwa Mashakada (DSG) – Shona/Karanga

6. Roy Bennett: Treasurer General – Caucasian/British-origin

7. Elton Mangoma: Deputy Treasurer General – Shona/Manyika

 8. Elias Mudzuri: Organizing Secretary – Shona/Karanga

9  Morgan Komichi  Deputy Organizing Secretary – Shona/Karanga

10.  Nelson Chamisa  Secretary for Information & Publicity – Shona/Karanga

11.  Theresa Makone  National Women Chairperson  – Shona/Zezuru

12.  Tamsanqa Mahlangu  National Youth Chairperson  – Ndebele/?

13.  Tabitha Khumalo  Deputy Secretary for Information & Publicity  – Ndebele

14.  Mfandaedza Hove  Secretary for Economics – Shona/Karanga

15.  Seiso Moyo  Secretary for Lands  – Ndebele/?

16.  Dr Gwaradzimba  Deputy Secretary for Lands – Shona/Karanga

17.  Innocent Gonese  Secretary for Information & Publicity  – Shona/Manyika

18.  Jessie Majome  Deputy Secretary for Information & Publicity- Shona/Karanga?

19.  Dr Henry Madzorera  Secretary for Health  – Shona/Zezuru

20.  Kerry Kay  Deputy Secretary for Health  – Caucasian/British-origin

21.  Eddie Cross  Policy Coordinator  – Caucasian/British-origin

22.  Getrude Mtombeni  Secretary for Labour – Ndebele/?

23.  Cephas Makuyana  Deputy Secretary for Labour – Shona/Manyika

24.  Fidelis Mhashu  Secretary for Education – Shona/Karanga

25.  Editor Matamisa  Deputy Secretary for Education – Shona/Karanga

26.  Prof Gordon Chavhunduka  Secretary for National Integration – Shona/Karanga

27.  Sekai Holland  (nee Gumbo) Secretary for Research and Policy – Shona/Karanga

28.  Dr Elizabeth Marunda  Deputy Secretary for Research and Policy – Shona/Karanga

29.  Hon Joel Gabhuza  Secretary for Mines and environment Ndebele/Kalanga

30.  Edmore Marimo  Deputy Secretary for Mines and environment – Shona/Karanga 

31.  Sessel Zvidzai  Secretary for Local Government – Shona/Karanga

32.  Last Maengahama  Deputy Secretary for Local Government – Shona/Karanga 

33.  Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa  Secretary for Defense and Security – Shona/Karanga 

34.  Prof Eliphas Mukonoweshuro  Secretary for International Affairs – Shona/Karanga 

35.  Grace Kwinje  Deputy Secretary for International Affairs – Shona/Karanga

36.  Paurine Gwanyanya-Mpariwa  Secretary for Transport logistics and Welfare – Shona/Karanga 

37.  Sithembile Mlotshwa  Deputy Secretary for Transport logistics and Welfare – Shona/Ndau 

38.  Edgar Sithole  Committee Member – Shona/Ndau

39  Masimba Ruzvidzo  Committee Member – Shona/Karanga

40.  Silas Matamisa  Committee Member – Shona/Karanga 

41.  Giles Mutsekwa  Committee Member – Shona/Manyika 

42.  Samuel Sipepa Nkomo  Committee Member  – Ndebele/Kalanga

43.  Hilda Mafudze  Committee Member – Shona/Karanga 

44.  Ian Makone  Committee Member – Shona/Karanga

45.  Victor Mapungwana  Committee Member – Shona/Karanga

46.  Blessing Chebundo  Committee Member – Shona/Karanga

National Executive (NE) ethnic and gender representation: 11 women, 2 Zezurus, 4 Manyikas, 3 Caucasians, 8 Ndebeles and 27 Karangas.

The MDC in Government

1. Prime Minister: Morgan Tsvangirai – Shona/Karanga (although based in Buhera)

2. Deputy Prime Minister: Thokozani Khuphe – Ndebele/?

3. Minister of Public Service: Prof Elphas Mukonoweshuro – Shona/Karanga

4. Minister of Science and Technology Development: Prof Heneri Dzinotyiwei – Shona/Karanga

5. Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion:Tapiwa Mashakada – Shona/Karanga

6. Minister of Home Affairs:Co-minister: Theresa Makone – Shona/Zezuru

7. Minister of Finance:Tendai Biti – Shona/Karanga

8. Minister of Health and Child Welfare: Henry Madzorera – Shona/Zezuru

9. Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs: Adv Eric Matinenga – Shona/Karanga

10. Minister of State Enterprise and Parastatals: Gorden Moyo – Ndebele/?

11. Minister of Information and Communications Technology:

12. Minister of Public Works: Joel Gabuza – Ndebele/Kalanga

13.  Minister of Labour and Social Welfare: Paurine Mpariwa – Shona/Karanga

14. Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities: Giles Mutsekwa – Shona/Manyika

15. Minister of Energy and Power Development: Elton Mangoma  – Shona/Manyika

16. Minister of Water Resources and Development: Samuel Sipepa Nkomo – Ndebele/Kalanga

17. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office:

18. Minister of State in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office: (Office of Thokozani Khuphe MP) Sen Sekai Masikana Holland – Shona/Karanga

19. Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development: Jesse Majome – Shona/Karanga

20. Deputy Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment: Tongai Matutu – Shona/Karanga

21. Deputy Minister of Local Government and Urban Development

22.  Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs: Obert Gutu – Shona/Karanga

23. Deputy Minister of Agriculture – Roy Bennett (Not yet sworn in)

24. Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Tichaona Mudzingwa – Shona/Karanga

25. Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development: Gift Chimanikire – Shona/Korekore

26. Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity: Murisi Zvizvai – Shona/Karanga

Prime Minister’s Spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka – Shona/Karanga and so many other staff members in the offices of the PM and DPM, all of whom are Karangas.

The MDC in Government ethnic and gender representation: 5 women, 1 Korekore, 2 Zezurus, 1 Manyika, 4 Ndebeles and 16 Karangas.