MDC-T should restrategise, make a comeback
Opinion by Andrew Masuku
I would like to give my own analysis on what I consider to be MDC’s failures even though their manifesto was more appealing to me than the winners. My view is that MDC-T’s downfall emanates from three flaws:
As a party, they were in an inclusive arrangement, whose governing guidelines they never bothered to take seriously.
Zanu PF deliberately violated most of the agreed terms, especially media reform, from the word go, and realised that they were actually dealing with partners whose principles were acquiescent.
A person, who compromises on principles, may actually be worse than an armed, notorious desperado, whose actions are predictable. For instance, the issue of media transformation remained outstanding until the end of the inclusive government.
This ought to have been dealt with, even before the writing of the constitution.
One cannot look further than the abuse of the state media by Zanu PF, in causing the downfall of the MDCs. The naive populace believed in the garbage coming out of ZBC, even though Zanu PF itself knew they were spewing.
The refusal to compromise on issues agreed to, should have led to MDC-T’s pulling out from the inclusive government. It’s probable the MDCs were more interested in perks than real governance issues.
The cry-baby tag is the second flaw that they could not handle effectively.
They abdicated their responsibility to Sadc, forgetting that their mandate came from those who had voted for them. Sadc facilitated the signing of the GPA, but who was to ensure that what was agreed upon was followed through, except the parties concerned?
They expected Sadc to censure the president of another state, without checking, how possible that could have been. Responsibility demands that one should not lay the blame on any other person for challenges faced.
The last flaw is failure to handle public relations. Imagine, spending five years in government without devising ways through which to relate to the misinformed people in troubled spots? Of course, the ready excuse is that such rural areas remained politically dangerous.
But an innovative public relations person could still have found ways of establishing relationships with such people as chiefs, or the war-vets, considering that MDC is not a party of foreigners, but people related to those same folks.
It is interesting to note that in some of those rural areas, where MDC-T has won seats; there are people on the ground, working hard, establishing relationships with locals. In Harare, I was incensed by the fact that we remained with the menace of Chipangano in Mbare, for the entire five-year period.
The MDC MP and his councillors were incapacitated, without socially seeking ways of dealing with the menace or even checking how the judiciary could be effectively utilised. MDC-T should consider themselves lucky, having won a few seats in parliament, to continue being relevant, in their quest to govern, some day.
The question remains: where to, from here? Their president seems to be contemplating to boycott the few seats won. To me, that would be ill-advised, unless the party wants to completely fall out of relevance. Civil disobedience should also not be an option.
Morgan Tsvangirai appears as one gifted with charisma, compared with Dumiso Dabengwa and Welshman Ncube.
The new constitution is now in place, it’s time for them to begin to look at their weaknesses and prepare well, towards the next elections, as a formidable opposition.
Their non-violent approach is highly commendable and they should build on it. The game of politics is similar to the game of football. There is no need to give up.