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Beyond elections: When the chickens come home to roost

28 Jul 2019 at 08:57hrs | Views
This article could not have come at a better time than this interesting political  time when Bulawayo is battling with the local governance conundrum, probably a historical first when the opposition is facing an opposition from within and without.

I shall provide a thesis that the problem in Bulawayo is beyond the MDC as it proves the public regret on protest voting and is a test for MDC's new dispensation. I show that the issue in Bulawayo is not as simplistic a tribal issue as thrown around by some, but a call to dismantle a corrupt culture in opposition public administration and proof that there is a paradigm shift.

The losses of MDC in Bikita and Nyanga RDC by-elections and Bulawayo problem being far from being resolved all provide us with lenses of adjudicating new dispensation of the opposition which is battling a political paradigm shift.

The MDC problem in Bulawayo is beyond them, it's high time they admit it. The problem is more outside as it is within and it's so entangled that any attempt to fix it carries with it political corpses.

The problem in Bulawayo is more complex than the MDC Executive thinks or they deliberately choose to ignore the bare truth, or perhaps they are not privy to the truth at all, or all the above is a cocktail within their purlieu.

It is important to state that the problem in Bulawayo may not or in fact cannot be fixed by MDC because the dissolution of the MDC-controlled council is not called for by a faction within MDC but outside actors who for in a long time have been demanding transparency and accountability from MDC. While corruption, extravagance and service delivery debility are now hallmarks at BCC, the leading dissenting voices cannot be addressed by Nelson Chamisa because they did not vote for him. They are his political nemesis which makes it a much worse riddle because as far as political legitimacy on this matter is concerned, he possesses none — this is not his constituency (independent residents, political parties such as MRP and Zapu, CSOs).

Moreover, there is no likelihood of him sacrificing Tinashe Kambarami who was instrumental in his ascension in Bulawayo. The Deputy Mayor is a kingmaker in Bulawayo MDC politics and that is a hand Nelson Chamisa cannot deal. This makes it worse considering that the Deputy Mayor leads the list of the "unwanted".

Banking on memory, there was an uproar on him being voted Mayor last year, which again Chamisa did not immediately address only to window dress later by giving him an ultimatum to resign as Deputy Mayor, for him to resurface as a contestant 24 hours later uncontested and won. From that charade, people lost trust in both MDC and Nelson Chamisa and his "golden eyes boys".

What makes this more complex is that the call now transcends the call out of the Deputy Mayor and his cronies, but a dissolution of the whole council said to be a proxy of the previous corrupt council.

The current crop of councillors are surrogates of a corrupt opposition system that has benefited from land scams, public works, food assistance programmes patronage, tender bribes and electoral fraud which arguably irks residents.

The spectre is not as simplistic a tribal issue as some purveyors of politics would want to see it. I also do not want to take away the active role of pro-self-determination groups in the demand for cultural sensitive and appreciative individuals to represent the heritage and public interests of the City as well as those who have been staunch on identities of councillors — that is how democracy is, it embraces every thought and emotion and we should embrace democracy as it is. This shows the organs outside MDC constituency that have proven to be more powerful than the party on this matter and factions within bleeding the opposition on local governance power.

Another complexity emerges in the form of fractures within the City Council and generally in MDC which are hard to dress.

The event packed 13th of July 2019 which saw an extra-ordinary council meeting blocked was made possible by a faction of councillors and prominent MDC members who clearly stated that they are siding with the protesters and were constantly updating the residents on which entrance the councillors were planning to use, which councillors where hiding inside the City Hall and every movement that was made to have the Council Meeting.

This only shows that there is a bigger problem in the MDC which Chamisa is not aware of and will not be able to address because it borders on the shared aspirations with those outside.

It is a fallacy of unproportioned imaginations to think that Prof Welshman Ncube can fix it because the man has no locus standi in MDC, worse off in Bulawayo. Do not ignore the reality that MDC has not embraced those who belonged to the MDC which wore green and still treats them suspiciously. Prof Ncube possesses no constituency to have political respect and effectively address a Bulawayo assembly. Already the Matabele people rejected him in previous elections and any decision or position he has taken has been thrown out that leaves him with only one option and that is resolving the problem internally. It comes back to bite him, he cannot recall the councillors, they have more political muscle than him particularly the Deputy Mayor.

He equally cannot ignore the problem because the party, especially Mashonaland expects him to fix that — that is the reason of him being there — regional balance and political management, either way, he has to skin the snake.

The Bulawayo problem is complex and unique in that it will take body bags with it, but most importantly, it should be a lesson on the scourges of protest voting.

One comical yet truthful submission in the post elections discussion was that people were wantonly voting for MDC Alliance even if they did not know the candidate. "Even if MDC Alliance had put a frog under its banner, Bulawayo people would have voted for the frog; as long as it was from MDC Alliance", one comrade who lost elections despairingly told me.

This became a piece of relived history wherein in some African country, once they were given an option of voting for the president and a frog. Legend tells us that there are people who voted for the frog, how quaint is that?

Source - sundaynews
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