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Unpacking the MDC RELOAD document

17 Jul 2019 at 14:27hrs | Views
Many people had high hopes that since Mugabe no longer there, probably Mnangagwa will change the economy of Zimbabwe, people will get jobs, industries will open, a strong Zimbabwe dollar will return, democracy will be established, Zimbabwe will mend its relations with the international community, we waited and waited since people wanted to give chance to ED's government but that was not the case. ED's government had failed in almost everything, actually things had gone from bad to worse such that people regret the departure of Mugabe. Every progressing Zimbabwean is looking for an alternative to pin hopes on and it is not a secret that the hope of many people is on the MDC party as led by Nelson Chamisa. However, the questions that remains are; whether the MDC party is ready to rule, does it have a strategy to remove Zanu PF and grab power, does the MDC party have an idea plan and strategy to win elections and rescue the suffering Zimbabweans. In this article I will analyse the above questions focusing on the recent MDC document termed ‘RELOAD' to see if the MDC is ready to rescue Zimbabweans from the current challenges the country is facing.

Planning is a very important aspect of every organisation if it is going to be effective and successful on its mission. ‘The process(of planning) begins with reviewing the current operations of the organization and identifying what needs to be improved operationally in the upcoming year. From there, planning involves envisioning the results the organization wants to achieve, and determining the steps necessary to arrive at the intended destination – success, whether that is measured in financial terms, or goals that include being the highest-rated organization in customer satisfaction.'(  The MDC party needs a clear plan to win elections, gain power, rule and rescue Zimbabweans who had suffered for so long. Does the MDC have this plan? I will be happy if someone would send me this plan to my email which I will write below this article. I haven't seen this plan but recently I saw the MDC document RELOAD and as I was reading it through I assumed it's the party's strategy document to gain power and rule. What made me believe the RELOAD document is the party power grab plan is the introductory words by the party President Nelson Chamisa when he said "It is with great pleasure that we present our roadmap and signpost for the democratization of Zimbabwe and for the construction of a sustainable Zimbabwe following our successful congress that was held in May 2019.' Mr Chamisa goes on to say again ‘Under these circumstances it is important that we provide the necessary leadership to take our country forward' he also says ‘RELOAD is thus our humble contribution to a permanent solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.' I think I am not wrong to conclude the RELOAD is the MDC plan to rule and save Zimbabweans from the current problems and therefore, in order to judge whether the RELOAD is the right plan for the Zimbabwean crises let's analyse its contents and see if the MDC is taking us to Canaan or back to Egypt.

As I was reading through the RELOAD document the following words and phrases were prominent; pressure, legitimacy, national dialogue, consensus, dialogue and National Transition Mechanisation. I will deal with the above words in order to analyse the RELOAD document in order to come up with the picture of the government which the MDC is planning to deliver to the people of Zimbabwe. I want to assure my readers that I am not a Zanu PF supporter neither am I on its payroll. I believe I support the MDC and have voted for the MDC since the time I turned 18 however, I hold independent views and I also scrutinize the actions of the MDC leadership without any fear or favour. I believe that my scrutiny and criticism of the MDC party contributes towards democracy. I am not on the MDC payroll as well, so please allow me to analyse the reload and I hope you will follow my analysis patiently.
The RELOAD document says, the MDC is focusing on (1) Pressure (Political and Diplomatic) (2) National Dialogue (3) National Transitional Mechanization) (4) Comprehensive Return Agenda (5) Free and Fair Elections. On pressure I wanted to know what the word pressure means in the context it was used in the RELOAD document. I thought by PRESSURE the document meant demonstrations and so forth, just as Nelson Chamisa had promised at congress that they will take to the streets to force Mnangagwa to the negotiating table but a further reading gave me a different picture. By pressure the MDC meant "Advocacy and mobilization of all progressive and democratic forces to build national consensus on the resolution of the national crisis" but can we classify advocacy and mobilization as pressure? Why was the word pressure used if we are talking of advocacy, do we use pressure in advocacy? Was the word pressure used to fool MDC supporters who eager for confrontational strategies? I want you to make your own conclusions here.

The other word which is prominent throughout the document is legitimacy. In short, the document says Mnangagwa is not legitimately in power, he stole the presidential election and therefore that results in a "fundamental crisis. The crisis of legitimacy. The crisis of governance. The crisis of confidence. The crisis of leadership. In essence, a political crisis. Zimbabwe has a huge trust deficit" The document goes on to say Zimbabwe must return to legitimacy, the July 2018 election did not resolve the national crisis. On Section 34 of the RELOAD document it reads "In order to move the country forward, Mr Mnangagwa has to recognize that he did not win the election as purported by ZEC but instead, that the MDC leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa won the Presidential election." So the document presents the legitimacy crisis and its solution.

I wanted my readers to understand what legitimacy is and what qualifies the government to be legitimate. According to Suchman (1995:574) as quoted in Burlea, Schiopoiu A., Popa I., (2013:1) "Legitimacy is a generalised perception that the actions of an entity are desirable, proper, or appropriate within some socially, constructed system of norms, values beliefs, and definitions." In simple term legitimacy is just a conformity to the law or rules. Was Mnangagwa elected according to the laws and rules of Zimbabwe? I can't say yes or no but the MDC felt laws and rules were not followed and lodged a petition to the constitutional court and the highest court on the land said Mnangagwa 's election was legal and he was sworn in as the President of Zimbabwe. However, my party the MDC said it was not happy with the Constitutional Court ruling and therefore Mnangagwa is not legitimate. I don't subscribe with the stance taken by the MDC party even though I am one of its supporters. If the highest court in the country had solved the electoral dispute the MDC was supposed to abide by the court ruling. I don't believe that failure by the MDC to accept the Constitutional Court ruling created a legitimacy in the government which was latter formed by Mnangagwa but I agree a crisis was created not by ZEC or Constitutional Court but by Chamisa and his party. No investor will come and invest in a country where there is an opposition party making a lot of noises kudira jecha. I believe that the international community will be fooled into believing that indeed a crisis is there and shy away from considering Zimbabwe as a possible investment destination. I believe Chamisa can easily help us remove this legitimacy crisis.

I know it is not hard to accept defeat. Chamisa admitted that he was beaten by Zanu PF on parliamentary election what is left is for him to accept that he was beaten also beaten on Presidential elections and then the legitimacy crisis is over and we look into other crisis like economic crisis. Accepting defeat instead of weakening the party, actually it helps the party to evaluate the previous election results, identify weaknesses and make a winning strategy for the next election. The MDC is failing to evaluate what makes it lose the election since 2000 because it had embarked on a "rigging escuse" after each and every election that comes. The rigging gospel needs to be revisited by the MDC party whether it is factual or not. I believe this gospel encourages laziness on the party because nobody wants to take responsibility for the poor performance of the party on any election. If we lose the election, then the blame must be placed on the shoulder of Chigumba or Malaba the Chief Justice. I therefore don't subscribe to the legitimacy crisis of the RELOAD document, it's a crisis which is a result of a deliberate creation of Chamisa and friends.

The RELOAD is loaded with many solutions but those solutions centre on dialogue and National Transition Mechanization, a form of a GNU which we saw in 2009-2013. If you read through the lines you will find that reasons to justify a second GNU are that elections had failed to solve the legitimacy crisis and therefore and therefore a government formed on the basis of consensus is the only way to go. "The people of Zimbabwe are suffering and therefore it cannot be business as usual. RELOAD is the only agenda and roadmap that can create a soft landing for Zimbabwe"

Section 34 of the RELOAD document suggest that Mnangagwa must accept that he did not win the elections and that he must hand over power to Chamisa. However, the RELOAD document suggest that after being declared winner of 2018 elections Chamisa will not form a government but he will want to enter into a dialogue again. Dialogue? What dialogue again? Remember Chamisa in the introduction he had said "Under these circumstances it is important that we provide the necessary leadership to take over country forward…we are committed to provide such leadership." Its then surprising that Chamisa after he had been handed the presidency, he would want negotiate for a GNU again. Why a GNU if the party had declared that it has all the qualifications and competencies to make the country move forward?

Furthermore, Chamisa wants an agreement on a framework to fill particular positions in government, he is not in a position to appoint by the powers vested in him as the president of the country since he won the 2018 elections. Again the document says the leaders of this second GNU will come from Industry, Diaspora (I hope I will qualify under this, lol), churches, social movements, labour and organised civil society with women's movements and youth movements…" If you look closely there is no mention of political parties in the composition of this second GNU. So Chamisa will receive his stolen presidency from Mnangagwa but when it comes to Ministers and so forth Chamisa will need people who are neither from his party or any other political party but he will be assisted by non-political actors to run the government. How practical is this arrangement? Is the RELOAD document trying to tell the nation that the MDC party is short of qualified human resources to move the government on its own.

Again it is not clear what Chamisa will do with his Presidency after getting it back from Mnangagwa. The structure of the second GNU is not articulated in the RELOAD document because it says it will be a subject of negotiation. So Chamisa claims to have won the 2018 elections but he needs negotiations for him to be confirmed President. I think I am missing something somewhere. Can someone help?

The second GNU is a product of negotiations and a national consensus. My thoughts are on the national consensus, how will the nation with 16 million people reach a consensus without going through an election or a referendum? Is the MDC people suggesting that the 16 million people in Zimbabwe is represented by a group of people from Industry, Diaspora, churches, social movements, labour and organised civil society with women's movements and youth movements? Can we safely say if this group of social elites which excludes my poor peasant mother from Gokwe, my old aged granny in Sanyati, a poor combie hwindi, my friend in Mbare Harare doing kiyakiya jobs to support his family then we have national consensus. I don't believe this. If indeed we feel elections are not working in Zimbabwe, then the MDC must suggest for a referendum to ask the 16 million Zimbabwe population if we are to ditch national elections when it comes to national leadership and whether they agree to an imposed government which doesn't come from the people but a creation of a selected few elites in the society.

The second GNU is tasked to implement a number of reforms which include, electoral, judicial, land, constitutional, reconciliation etcetera. However, the interesting part is where the document admits that this second GNU is not constitutional and that it will require Zanu and MDC MPs in parliament to agree to amend the constitution so that the second GNU becomes legal and constitutional. I was left wondering if the dialogue is so effective in uniting Zanu and MDC MPs in parliament such that the MPs agrees to amend the constitution, what is it that can stop the same MPs to unite and effect electoral reforms and other reforms now. Mustn't we initiate a dialogue with the aim of agreeing on these reforms if we know that it's possible for the two main parties in parliament to unite. Do we need a GNU to make MPs in parliament to work on a common purpose?
The RELOAD admits that the first GNU failed to come up with the necessary reforms and Chamisa recently blamed his party that it was not prepared and that the party MPs enjoyed teas and forgot the reason why they had entered into a pact with Zanu PF. I did not find a clause in the RELOAD document which justifies why Zimbabweans must believe that this time around the second GNU will work. I think it will not work again.

What is the way forward? The way forward is for the MDC to accept defeat in both parliamentary and presidential election of July 2023, evaluate its performance and find solutions to its campaign weaknesses. It is a well-known fact that the MDC does not have structures in rural areas. For example, in Mapfungautsi constituency in Gokwe my home area, the MDC is not visible. The party is failing to penetrate the rural vote. What is the party planning to do to prepare for 2023 elections? Biti during his campaign for the MDC VP promised to do something. It's not Biti alone but a number of contestants mentioned issues to do with rural vote. Where is the plan, the plan to win rural vote must be seen being implemented? The RELOAD document must have told us how this is going to be done in the next 4 years.

Issues to do with money must be well explained. We know that last elections the MDC party did not print free regalia for its supporters while ZANU campaign was well oiled from regalia, cars, campaign money etectera. The MDC was selling party T-Shirts to its supporters. How do you match with ZANU in that situation? We know for sure that each year the MDC receive money from the political parties act to the tune of millions. Where is this money going if the party does not have cars, cannot print free T-Shirts etcetera? On top of that we haven't heard of any publication of audited financial statements from the party. The MDC must buy cars, buy regalia, beautiful regalia for its supporters. We must not be told that there is no money when we know the party is receiving public funds. Why sell party regalia to supporters.

Party recruitment strategies must be well spelt. Is it a lie that it is hard to get an MDC party card? If you think I am lying, try to look for the MDC party card today and see how long it will take for you to get it. Card reMDC hariwanikwi zvokumhanya then in that situation how will party supporters increase?
We want to hear what the party is doing to counter rigging during the next elections. Supporters are tired of being told of rigging time and again. Chamisa in 2018 during his campaigns told his supporters that rigging won't work during the July 2018 election because counter rigging mechanisms were in place but after elections we were never told how these mechanisms had worked and why the party was rigged again. We don't have to be rigged time and again no.

I think the MDC RELOAD document is just a child play document, it shows that we have a leadership crisis within the top MDC hierarchy. The RELOAD document lake strategy and shows that the top MDC party have surrendered its hope on winning elections any time sooner and had resorted to gain power through means which are not constitutional. In short the RELOAD document is a clear strategy for a soft coup, an undemocratic means of gaining state power. Zimbabweans look for better ideas from the MDC party not this pathetic RELOAD document.
Etiwel Mutero

Source - Etiwel Mutero
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