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Tsvangirai turns in his grave as Chamisa tramples on democracy

08 May 2019 at 14:09hrs | Views
When the late MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai championed the formation of the party while he was still the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), he alleged that there was no democracy in the country. To him he had formed a party which practises democracy. The form of democracy he was advocating for is a discussion for another day.


Tsvangirai had come to the realisation that no single party could defeat ZANU PF at the polls. He therefore, advocated for a coalition ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections. When sickness took its toll on his life, Tsvangirai appointed Co-Vice Presidents Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa as the acting MDC leader and MDC Alliance leader, respectively. These were separate roles which were meant to create a balance of power, but it was not so for long.

Party leadership
The demise of Tsvangirai on 14 February 2018 in South Africa left a power vacuum in the MDC and the MDC Alliance. Chamisa, then did the unthinkable by jumping ship and arm twisted the party's National Council to endorse him as the party leader and presidential candidate. This alone trampled on the tenets of democracy. In his quest to land party leadership, Chamisa almost had Co-Vice President, Dr Thokozani Khupe and Secretary General, Douglas Mwonzora burnt in a thatched house during Tsvangirai's burial. With this in mind, how can Chamisa claim that he is clean yet he almost killed his party members?

MDC Alliance and the 2018 elections
The MDC's candidate selection process for the 2018 elections under the Alliance banner saw democracy being thrown out through the broken window panes of the party's Harvest House. Chamisa was in a mood and had a strategy to award his allies with the most preferred constituencies against the will of the people. Former MDC legislators for Harare West and Mabvuku-Tafara, Jessie Majome and Ambassador designate James Maridadi, respectively, were dumped despite their known contributions to that party.

Other Alliance members like Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe and Professor Welshman Ncube of MDC-N were left with no constituencies. The MDC ended up fielding Ngarivhume and Bornface Mudzingwa in Bikita East constituency and eventually lost to ZANU PF's Johnson Madhuku. This killed the Alliance spirit and Chamisa ran against Tsvangirai's aspirations of a united opposition in Zimbabwe.

2019 Congress
When the MDC decided to go for its 5th Congress, the process was flawed. The restructuring process which is preceded the congress saw Chamisa attending the gatherings in an attempt to cow his challengers. In some cases he influenced the provincial congresses to be held in the dead of night to enhance the chances of favourite candidates to win. Tsvangirai never attended such gatherings and left that job to the National Organising Secretary and the National Standing Committee. Democratically, Chamisa cannot be the player and referee at the same time. He should, instead, leave it to other people to carry out the process.

Tsvangirai's memorial service
During the Tsvangirai's memorial service which was held last weekend, Chamisa and his allies went against the wishes of Tsvangirai's family to have no MDC regalia at the event. Chamisa in his donkey-like arrogance asked people to put on party paraphernalia arguing that Tsvangirai's life was about the MDC. This was a family event where Tsvangirai's family were supposed to be seen taking a leading role, but alas the political vultures in the MDC hijacked it and elevated Chamisa to be the centre of attraction and used the opportunity to showcase his oratory skills.

As a result of the hijacking of the memorial service, the event ended up being a campaign platform for Chamisa where he tried in vain to explain to the gathering that he was the chosen heir apparent to the MDC seat of power. One should have seen the pain Chamisa expressed trying to explain how he got where he is today. This was bound to happen because each time Chamisa takes hold of a microphone he will utter anything that comes to his mind including the most unwise of things.

There was something unusual that Chamisa did during the memorial service. His address was meant to make a political statement about himself and not to celebrate Tsvangirai's life.

Attacking other partners is very wrong and showed how Chamisa broke the spirit of unity which Tsvangirai advocated for. During the memorial service, in a veiled attack, he lashed out at MDC Co-Vice President Prof Welshman Ncube and Deputy National Chairperson, Tendai Biti.

"That is why you see I never wavered. I never went to the left or to the right. I never looked back as others did. I was always behind Tsvangirai to the very end," said Chamisa in apparent reference to Biti and Ncube who at some point left the MDC.

Chamisa's ineptude
The booing that Edwin Tsvangirai received from the crowd after thanking President Emmerson Mnangagwa for supporting the memorial service materially was not called for. Edwin had every right like all Zimbabwean citizens to express himself freely as enshrined in Section 61 of the Constitution which deals with the "Freedom of expression". Having seen the economic suffering of Zimbabweans and the stubbornness of Chamisa, Edwin attempted to proffer a few wise words to Chamisa.

"I think we have reached the same levels, if not worse. Things are hard and we are saying let us put the interest of the people first. I would like to finish by saying Morgan used to know that power, which comes without peace, is a futile exercise. Power without peace is a futile exercise. To those who are ruling right now and to those who are aspiring for power, power without peace is futile," said Edwin.

Edwin saw how his father dealt with political situations despite his shortcomings. In that regard, he showed Chamisa how the political game is played and said "I shall finish by saying (that) Morgan said himself, to all of us as his children, my children I cannot rule the country watching dead bodies in the street. I will have to know when to stop, I will have to stop. I will have to know when to stop and when to proceed".
 This piece of advice did not go down well with Chamisa's supporters who booed and jeered at him and was only rescued by National Organising Secretary, Amos Chibaya.

It's also surprising that Chamisa did not intervene to calm tempers. During an MDC Manicaland "thank you rally" at Chisamba Grounds on 9 March 2019, Chamisa intervened when his rowdy supporters were booing Mwonzora.

The climax of the matter now boils down on Chamisa's legitimacy. Chamisa since 2018 elections he had been questioning President Mnangagwa's "legitimacy" yet he was never legally the MDC president following the death of Tsvangirai. Today's High Court judgement by Justice Edith Mushore nullified Chamisa's MDC presidency showing how he overran democratic processes.

Source - Elijah Chihota
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