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Chamisa's secret deals Mwonzora, Mudzuri questioned

by Staff reporter
23 Apr 2019 at 09:54hrs | Views
MDC ALLIANCE president Nelson Chamisa's secret deals with the party's secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and one of his vice presidents Elias Mudzuri on the hand so that both do not contest him for the presidency at their next congress has been received with mixed views.

The deals are such that Chamisa will guarantee Mudzuri retains his vice president's post and Mwonzora settles for the secretary-general post with both rallying behind him.

Both Mudzuri and Mwonzora were potential challengers who may have given in because of a possible backlash from some of Chamisa's militant lieutenants.

Some political and social analysts said they supported Chamisa's move saying even in established democracies, political negotiation is an established concept employed to reach a political agreement.

They said by negotiating with the two, Chamisa is showing magnanimity and leadership rather than zero sum politics.

Others are, however, of the opinion that while this negotiation would signify a maturing democracy in the MDC Alliance; it was made for the image built of an invincible Chamisa whose legitimacy would have been severely damaged.

They said the fact that there were incidences of intra-party violence means there are unresolved internal issues that the movement must find time to reflect upon and become a united, well-coordinated political party that can mount a serious intellectual and social-economic alternative to Zanu-PF.

They added that true leadership should pass through the test of popularity and ideas, not coercion as have been alleged by some of the MDC Alliance officials.

Political analyst MacDonald Lewanika, while he is not sure of the credibility of these backroom deals, he believes it is not a bad thing afterall.

"Democracy is not just about contest it is also about comprise and accommodation, and carrying everyone along. This way the MDC preserves its best and brightest in leadership after all leadership is not about positions it is about the disposition of leadership and real leaders can lead from anywhere. At least this way the MDC will have sound leadership at different levels."

Journalist Stanley Kwenda said while there's no doubt that Chamisa is the most popular of the three candidates, for the sake of the party, it was a good move for the three to negotiate.

"At the end of the day this will avoid the splits we have seen in the past. Even the two men know that Chamisa has the momentum, so I wouldn't say they were dribbled but rather they took a decision in the best interest of their party.

"In the end it's the party that wins and the millions of people who voted Chamisa in the last election.

The sooner they get this congress out of the way the better because they have other important issues to do with such as electoral reforms. 2023 is not that far, they can't afford to waste more time," said Kwenda.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said Chamisa is doing well, trying to unite the party ahead of this congress that can leave the party more divided than united.

"He is demonstrating political maturity by not seeking vindictiveness and total destruction of his party adversaries post- congress. He is rising above the misguided elements in his party who saw the death of Mudzuri and Mwonzora's careers post congress. He is being a leader. "Democracy is not only about contested polls but it can also be negotiated freely and fairly and win-win outcomes realised. He is doing right. This is what Morgan Tsvangirai would have done," said Saungweme.

Social analyst Rashweat Mukundu said politics is not only about contest but negotiation and alliances and both Mudzuri and Mwonzora realise that they are no match for Chamisa judging by the on-going nominations. "It is however in Chamisa's interest that the two remain in the MDC and that fractions are limited as much as possible; this is part of building a stronger MDC."

Social analyst Precious Shumba however, believes negotiations by their very nature are a compromise on principles, values and beliefs.

"They always come after a protracted contest for supremacy, and when you see protagonists negotiating and sharing positions and promising each other certain things, it means that the democracy has been compromised to the extent that it becomes an elite pact to be on the feeding trough.

"Power by all means necessary is a major worry in African politics, and the MDC Alliance should be the leading light in promoting democracy that promotes freedom of choice, right to contest for its membership, and guarantee freedom after speech."

He said the MDC are called the movement for democratic change, meaning they are a mass-driven social political movement that is inspired by democratic values and principles in their conduct as an organisation and the officials have to be demonstrating their democratic credentials.

"If however, the negotiations took place at the instigation of their different sets of followers, it means that the MDC Alliance leadership of Mwonzora, Chamisa and Mudzuri timely responded to an expressed need for compromise to maintain the party's unity.

There is apparent intolerance in the rank and file of the followers as shown in the different reports of violence against perceived enemies of their respective leaders.

"In politics, there are vested interests to pursue and protect, and I am certain that Chamisa was the one who was under more pressure to be uncontested at their congress because if he was going to be contested by Mwonzora or Mudzuri, it would have meant that a significant portion of the MDC Alliance base has divided loyalty," said Shumba.

He added that because if they went in to July 2018 elections with him as their candidate, and at their first congress following their founder's death, the expectation would have been for more candidates coming forward to express their interest in the Presidency of their Party, without anyone being seen to be victimised for expressing a mere desire to lead the movement.

Shumba said it would have been more democratic if Chamisa did not attend the provincial congresses when he was an interested party.

"The principle of democracy should be anchored on the right of individuals to make informed choices on their leadership without apparent coercion in the form of raising hands as a way of voting. The vote should remain a secret and that way we are able to evaluate one's real and genuine support.

"Secondly, if it were possible to invite nominations from the floor during the congress, with no threats to life, democracy in the movement would have come out of age. As it stands, there is possibility that the negotiations were simply done to silence Mwonzora and Mudzuri, while designed to guarantee Chamisa an uncontested position at Congress, thereby maintaining a fallacy of invincibility.

That is a danger to both the movement and democracy as a concept of transparency and accountability."

Shumba said his view is that the negotiations are a process of making sure that Chamisa is thought to represent in full all MDC Alliance followers without allowing that hypothesis to pass the test of democracy.

"My expectation was that since the MDC Alliance is always very critical of Zanu-PF, they would invite such electoral bodies like the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the Election Resource Centre and their close ally Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to conduct their elections in a free and fair manner to demonstrate what they really desire for Zimbabwe so that we all appreciate what we are missing as citizens without them as the ruling party.

"In another view, Mwonzora and Mudzuri are being saved from their political dustbin.

The negotiations may be seen as a way of saving their positions from being taken by other party officials who have been nominated to those positions. Because if they do not manage to hold any position of leadership, they will be forgotten outside the movement and will find it difficult to mount a formidable comeback," said Shumba.

Source - dailynews