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MDC: Beyond Congress politics

06 Jun 2019 at 09:46hrs | Views
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 2019 National Elective Congress has come and gone. Amongst many other things, the key achievements of the congress were uniting the party to as nearest to its founding 1999 position as possible in terms of both leadership diversity and its logo and symbols.

While the issue of multiple vice presidents remains thorny in and outside party, the current trio possess the kind of diversity that if seen for what it is and deployed accordingly, can propel the party into an insurmountable giant in a short space of time. Without establishing itself as a new centre of power, the Vice Presidency of the MDC has the potential to help the party win fresh rural votes, sustain its urban base, deliver remarkable services in local government, reinvigorate debate in the legislature, give direction and dominance to national dialogue and above all, win the next election. With Prof Welshman Ncube, Lynette Karenyi-Kore and Tendai Biti assisting him, President Chamisa must feel relieved from the burden of thinking. His key role must be to travel the length and breadth of Zimbabwe charming the masses with his charisma and articulating a well laid out party vision.

First of all Vice President Lynette Karenyi-Kore has two critical elements in her biography that none in the entire directly elected leadership has. She has a record of winning parliamentary elections in rural Zimbabwe, having won Chipinge West in 2008 and having risen from being a Mutare City councillor from 2003 to 2008, she has experience in local governance. In order to turn around the fortunes of the party it is vital for it to begin to deliver remarkable services in the twenty eight (28) local authorities that it controls and also to penetrate the rural areas and establish many strongholds there. A vice President who has experience in Local Government and winning Parliamentary elections in rural areas thus becomes a very plausible decision and choice of congress delegates. A Local Government Internal Review Panel comprising of former MDC Mayors and Deputy Mayors Elias Mudzuri, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, Sesel Zvidzai, Thandeko Zinti Mnkandhla, Philemon Lamola, Angilacala Ndlovu and others could be an icing on the cake for Vice President Kore and whosoever will be appointed secretary for local government.

While the MDC focuses on delivering services at local government level and widening its electoral base to rural areas, it will be important not to do this at the expense of keeping central government checked and retaining its urban strongholds. Urban voters form the bulk of the working people and therefore the bulk of taxpayers while rural voters form the bulk of the electorate in general. Thus, winning fresh constituencies in rural areas is as important as defending traditional support bases in urban areas. Achieving this will mean a departure from the herd mentality of having every party leader travelling with the President. While Vice President Kore sets the ground for President Chamisa to lead a rural blitz, the party's urban strongholds need to be kept alive as highly disciplined, well coordinated, non factious forts of resistance against the regime of General Constantine Chiwenga and Emerson Mnangagwa. Sustaining the party's urban base and illuminating the flames of civil disobedience and organised mass resistance could thus be the first key role assigned and split city by city between vice Presidents Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti. These two men are known for their long history of tolerating, complementing and helping each other in the field of politics.

Secondly, the MDC needs to bring back the days of robust debate in Parliament. When the MDC first came into Parliament in June 2000, it was outnumbered by ZANU PF but its troop of founding legislators like Tafadzwa Musekiwa, Learnmore Jongwe, Paul Themba Nyathi, Job Sikhala, Abednico Malinga, Edwin Mushoriwa, Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti,  Paurina Mpariwa, Trudy Stevenson, Fletcher Dulini Ncube and Gibson Sibanda among others managed to dwarf ZANU PF in terms of matter and manner of debate. The party now  needs to assign a Vice President to be specifically in charge of the party in the legislature and there's no better person than Tendai Biti. He is a Vice President, he is in Parliament and his ability to debate and create a debate team is just unquestionable. What's missing is the assignment by President Chamisa.  

Thirdly, with Welshman Ncube as a duly elected MDC Vice President, the party can now press further on the need for national dialogue knowing fully well that they have in their midst a chief negotiator who can provide the boardroom charm and content that is missing in the ongoing collective monologue parroted by ZANU PF. That collective monologue needs to be turned into a dialogue and the MDC has in it what it takes to do that. The party is in fact the missing ingredient to the process. Not only can Prof Ncube be of immediate help to President Chamisa and the party in the national and international dialogue exercises, he is also known for great administrative skills which can help spur internal party systems for the massive fight ahead. His supervision over political secretariat and treasury could continue to be of immense benefit to the party.

In summary, a matrix that deploys Vice President Kore to lead the party agenda in local government while Vice President Biti drives it at national government and Vice President Ncube leads the party's out of government agenda could be a key move in rebranding and repositioning the MDC. It could make best use of the otherwise burdensome issue of three Vice Presidents.

The other party department that has a mammoth task is the Chairmanship. Thabitha Khumalo has been duly elected national chairman of the MDC and she will be deputised by Job Sikhala. Section 9.3.1 of the MDC Constitution defines the role of this office. The two most critical roles are that of leading the National Elections Directorate and resolving disputes and conflicts amongst party members, party structures and party organs. The MDC just walked out of Congress and along the way many cadres harmed each other physically, emotionally and financially. In such circumstances, the victorious often lack magnanimity while the unsuccessful often form long term associations of wounded lions. Unless Khumalo and Sikhala devise means of healing these wounds, these cadres will spend the next five (5) years threatening, undermining and sabotaging one another. Furthermore, double candidature is one thing that has been evidence of a non functional Elections Directorate. It has cost the MDC dozens of seats and wards since 2008. Thus, the existence or absence of double candidates will be the most important measure of success for the new elections Directorate.

( In part two we will look into the administrative positions of Secretary General and Treasurer General. Like Vladimir Lenin once pondered, we shall discuss What is to be done? by these departments).

Dadirai Chivimbiso Bvute is a member of the MDC. She enjoys watching Amos Chibaya dance, Morgen Komichi sing and Tendai Biti speak. She thinks Tracy Mutinhiri is an amazing woman. She writes in her personal capacity

Source - Byo24News
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