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Chamisa hypocrisy exposes lack of political, ideological depth

02 Dec 2018 at 10:12hrs | Views
A video circulating on social media of MDC officials, Murisi Zwizwai and Charlton Hwende publicly confronting, accusing and humiliating MDC co-vice-president, Engineer Elias Mudzuri for attending a meeting of Parliamentary officials with President Mnangagwa at State House last week makes a nauseating sight.

Ironically, Mr Hwende accepted the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT whose perks are equivalent to those of Deputy Ministers. Eng Mudzuri had attended the meeting with President Mnangagwa, together with other Parliamentary Presiding Officers, in terms of Parliament's Standing Rules and Orders. Messrs Zwizwai and Hwende accused Eng Mudzuri of associating with President Mnangagwa, despite the party's so-called policy of not recognising his legitimacy.

What makes the stance by the MDC Alliance officials so appalling and hypocritical is the litany of cases of MDC co-operation and working together with various Government officials and departments, despite the so-called policy of non-recognition of President Mnangagwa's legitimacy.

First and foremost, the very act of acknowledging the appointment of Government Ministers by the very same President Mnangagwa is, by logical deduction and extension, a categorical acceptance of the legitimacy of the President. It would be a great case of hypocrisy to accept a Government Minister's legitimacy arising from that minister's appointment by an illegitimate President. If the appointing authority, in this case President Mnangagwa, is illegitimate, it logically follows that all his appointments and other executive decisions are illegitimate. How does the MDC Alliance explain its acceptance and recognition of Government Ministers while at the same time denying the legitimacy of the appointing authority?

Messrs  Zwizwai and Hwende confronted Eng Mudzuri at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) where legislators were engaged in post-budget consultations. The 2019 budget they were discussing was presented by Professor Mthuli Ncube, an appointee of President Mnangagwa. Here we don't see the MDC Alliance MPs boycotting the consultations, probably because they were being held at a five-star hotel where they would wine and dine, at the taxpayer's expense.

This co-operation with the executive arm of the State is not problematic, according to the Hwendes of the MDC Alliance, but Eng Mudzuri's attendance of a meeting with President Mnangagwa is problematic. Readers may need to know that Eng Mudzuri is the MDC Alliance leader in the Senate, a position which was conferred on him through that party's caucus processes.

In other words, his attendance at State House was in line with the MDC Alliance's participation in Parliament as well as other State institutions. For the MDC Alliance to now find fault with this participation is the height of hypocrisy.

It is an open secret that the MDC Alliance appointed Dangamvura-Chikanga legislator, Mr Prosper Mutseyami as its Parliamentary Chief Whip, while it's national chairperson, Ms Tabitha Khumalo, is the leader of the opposition in the Lower House of Parliament.

Here lies the MDC hyprocrisy: if the MDC surely did not recognise the legitimacy of the outcomes of the 30 July elections, why would they appoint all these officials to take up positions in Parliament? Is it because there is money to be earned from Parliamentary participation? Is it about the foreign travel on Parliamentary business? If the MDC Alliance is to be taken as a viable alternative to Zanu-PF, it cannot be seen to be selective in its engagements with Zanu-PF and Government. In one minute, they get along with the same Government. In another, they claim otherwise.

Appearing before the Motlanthe Commission investigating post-election violence on Monday last week, Mr Nelson Chamisa expressed his readiness to engage President Mnangagwa for what he termed "the country's progress."

Why would he want to engage an illegitimate President? Mr Chamisa is so keen to enter Government through the back door.

He is, however, unwilling to say so publicly, but would rather cling to an ambiguous policy of non-recognition of the President and demonstrations, under a futile hope that it would bring him political rewards.

The above contradictions point to deep-seated policy and leadership paralysis. Mr Chamisa is simply overwhelmed and out-of-depth to provide clear leadership in the MDC Alliance. It is as clear as day from night that the MDC Alliance is suffering from a strategic leadership crisis, which has failed to chart a way forward after its defeat on 30 July. It is simply not clear if the MDC Alliance is acknowledging the Zanu-PF Government or not. Its engagement is selective.

An opposition with the nation's interests at heart would have accepted the poll results with the full assurance that another round of elections would be coming in five years. Mr Chamisa still has age on his side, that he can still try his luck for the presidency. Dragging the country down all because he lost an election, taken together with his unconstitutional power grab in the MDC-T, has exposed Mr Chamisa as a politician motivated by love for power, in the same mould as the infamous Alfonso Dhlakama of Mozambique and Jonas Savimbi of Angola. The Dhlakama and Savimbi of Zimbabwe is prepared to shed the blood of fellow compatriots in pursuit of power. Zimbabwe is experiencing economic challenges exasperated by the MDC Alliance's intransigence and refusal to accept its loss. Mr Chamisa has openly declared that "tozvidira jecha/ sizabhidliza umbuso", an apparent declaration that they would sabotage the economy as long as they are not in power.

It is an open secret that Messrs Zwizwai and Hwende, among others like Mr Morgen Komichi, are fronting a faction within the MDC Alliance that is opposed to any member challenging Mr Chamisa for the party leadership at the forthcoming elective congress. They have not made any secret about their position. On the other hand, Eng Mudzuri has hinted that he may contest for the party presidency.

Previously, Eng Mudzuri had a run-in with Mr Chamisa following the death of Tsvangirai when Chamisa grabbed the presidency outside the confines of that party's constitution. Eng Mudzuri, together with Dr Thokozani Khupe contested the power grab by Mr Chamisa. That sowed seeds for some of the factional political theatrics that are now manifesting through the insults by Messrs Hwende and Zwizwai. Mudzuri is being persecuted for challenging the circumstances of Chamisa's ascendancy to the leadership of the MDC-T, as well as his bold stance to challenge Chamisa during the congress.

On the other hand, Dr Khupe has gone to accept that the results of the polls reflect the wishes of Zimbabweans and has exhorted Zimbabweans to embrace and work with the Zanu-PF Government. This shows Dr Khupe has the national interest at heart: postponing personal political ambitions in the greater public good.

Calls by Youth Assembly secretary-general, Lovemore Chinoputsa for Eng Mudzuri's expulsion from the MDC Alliance over the State House meeting should be contextualised in the factional battles for the party leadership. Eng Mudzuri is adjudged to be posing a threat to Mr Chamisa, hence the open attempts to block his political march. In the short period Mr Chamisa has been in national politics, he has demonstrated his insatiable love for power that he is prepared to sacrifice national progress.

Such politicians present a clear danger to national aspirations. Voters, however, have a way of punishing such unpatriotic politicians. And voters don't forget.

Mandla Vodloza Sibanda is a political analyst based in Harare.

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