By Grace Kwinjeh
“We must not cultivate the spirit of the exceptional or look for the hero, another form of leader. We must elevate the people, expand their minds, equip them, differentiate them, and humanize them.” Frantz Fanon.
Riding on the post-Mugabe euphoria, now at the helm of the MDC-Alliance’s leadership, Nelson Chamisa bragged at a rally that he had recently spoken to US President Donald Trump, and had been promised a whooping US15 billion should he win the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections.
This incident reveals a lot about Chamisa, for those who still take him seriously, but, also unwittingly, betrays the MDC Alliance’s not so well thought out foreign policy, issues I am going to be analysing in this four part series.
I write because I am tired of private whispering by grown men and women, in the opposition, who should confront and tell Chamisa the truth, about his leadership and the downward spiral his party is in as it battles internal contradictions. All is not well in paradise.
That is if the movement he leads is to be saved from itself and stand a fighting chance in 2023, where stakes are going to be higher.
Writing is a way of putting issues into perspective, creating a memory for future reference, in an environment in which duplicity thrives – as we have witnessed with events around November 2017, there is selective amnesia, people say things today and tomorrow completely deny they were ever there, or ever said it.
I unpack the core degenerative dynamics in the opposition as it stands today, its ability to withstand the challenges in the operating environment and its endurance leading to 2023 elections.
Important parallels and lessons to be drawn from the ongoing US elections, which have but demolished romanticised notions of the perfection and infallibility of Western democracy.
Why do I rewind to this particular Trump incident?
Chamisa makes this statement at a political rally platform he often uses to demonise and ridicule his opponents, and also feeds his gullible supporters with frivolities that will neither bring bread on their tables nor create jobs for them.
Theirs is to cheer because dear leader has said it.
Western governments have spoilt the MDC and are part of the problem, leading to its stunted growth, not maturing as an opposition party, but seems to function more like a human rights NGO, with no real desire or tenacity to wrestle power from Zanu PF.
I grew up in disfunctionalty, most holidays had to go to my maternal grandmother in the village in Hurungwe, a learning curve, which always had its own fun, drama and yes tears. Coming from the city, having an attitude, made me game for local village girls.
My chores included fetching water from chibhorani, an ordeal when my aunt (mainini, grandmother’s niece) was not around. I would get there with my bucket, just after filling it the girls – bullies would cause a scuffle, which would result in all my water spilling to the ground.
My reaction was to run back home crying the village down, which annoyed my grandmother more. I was being a drama queen. And so I would be welcomed with a fine beating, and barrage of questions, where her water is? Do I want to kill her of thirst?
Soon enough I would learn to confront bullies, go kuchibhorani and bring back water, fresh water for my granny to drink – may her dear soul rest in peace.
For two decades the MDC has been going kuchibhorani, coming back with no water and getting rewarded for it, getting sympathy, consequently, Chamisa did not speak out of order or ignorance, he spoke as a darling, this is exactly how the game has been played and continues to play itself out.
The script is already written, the MDC does not have to toil or work itself to State House, they might as well have already won the 2023 elections.
Even more intriguing, spineless MDC Alliance MPs remain in Parliament even as they claim not to recognise Thokozani Khupe as leader of the opposition.
Juxtapose that with those in Hong-Kong, it took the entire pro-democracy opposition bloc minutes to resign en masse, after four of their colleagues had been fired on the grounds of being ‘unpatriotic’.
Thus, the party under Chamisa’s leadership is bleeding from different angles and directions, more profusely than it has over the years under Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership.
Chamisa’s leadership abilities now under greater scrutiny.
Chamisa lacks flexibility, his is a zero-sum game, which has nothing to do with being principled, but a deeply flawed character, who either has to get things his way or there is no way at all – jecha.
Opposition supporters operate under the misguided notion that in criticizing Chamisa and bringing him to account for poor decisions he has made, invariably means they have played into Zanu PF’s hands.
This is simply meant to blackmail, camouflage and disguise monumental failures by adopting the strategy of distraction – remind supporters, silence critics by talking about Zanu PF failures.
A leader is as good as his supporters, those closest to him and the general masses.
The MDC has lost much ground in just two years, the road to 2023 at this rate will be a bumpy one, more because of internal factors and contradictions that Zanu PF wittingly takes advantage of.
Furthermore, historically the MDC’s foreign policy has been unclear, a source of much confusion both internally in the party and for its external partners and allies.
Was the MDC born free? Or Free Market?
The party has often found itself in sixes and nines when it comes to major foreign policy pronunciations of importance.
Take the sanctions issue for instance, there has been a glaring lack of consistency with different leaders posturing over contradictory positions, turning to strategic distraction as a response, for instance remind us that the issue is not about sanctions but Zanu PF’s evil rule or corruption, bereft of a loud and clear position.
An immoral position that is so wrong on many fronts, first, the West can’t intervene in Zimbabwe with the aim of ‘restoring democracy’ and yet have already predetermined who they want in place, it is a scandal of major proportions and why those who belong to the black consciousness movement get weary of the ‘white savior’ agenda.
…… to be continued….
Grace Kwinjeh is a journalist and and women’s rights advocate.