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MDC's greatest misconception… that demonstrations and violence will lead to power

13 Feb 2020 at 08:59hrs | Views
The violence-prone Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), since its introduction in the country's political arena 20 years ago has not been able to dislodge ZANU PF from its stranglehold on power and has gotten quite a reputation as perennial losers. It is now known for promising heaven on earth which turns out to be mere flattering to deceive when it matters most.

The late founding father of the MDC, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai left a legacy in the MDC, that demonstrations, protests and violence were the only solution to wrestling power from ZANU PF, a legacy that his successor, Nelson Chamisa seems to have embraced. Many will remember how Tsvangirai while still leading the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), spearheaded the destructive food riots of January 1998. This formed the seed of the violence and destructive streak which now characterises the MDC.

This culture of violence has even cascaded to the youths in the party. It is therefore no surprise that the young leaders coming up through the ranks of the MDC preach violence without taking the time to learn what the electorate needs and what the party as an opposition party can offer the electorate.

When you talk about violence in the MDC, the Vanguard and the Democratic Resistance Committees (DRC) quickly spring to mind, with the sad realisation that these organisations are filled with the country's youths who are manipulated into believing that violence is the only way for the party to land power.

The newly elected MDC-aligned Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) leader, Takudzwa Ngadziore has promised that during his tenure he will see 'earth shuttering' demonstrations.
A video clip featuring the young lad making the proclamation has gone viral. Instead of highlighting his vision of how he and his committee intend to fight for the improvement of student life in tertiary education, he promises violence.  

 Former ZINASU members Gilbert Mutubuki, General Obey Sithole, Tamuka Chikonyora, Makomborero Haruzivishe, Raymond Sango, Vision Moyo, to name just a few, have all passed through the student union body and were conspicuous by their violence and demonstrations with some even getting arrested and facing trial for the vice.

Even the MDC Harare West legislator, Joana Mamombe, who is rumoured to have slept her way into elbowing Jessie Majome from her constituency, studied at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) where she was synonymous with organising demonstrations and protests against Government.  
The same applies with the MDC Deputy Organising Secretary, Happymore Chidziva, who was even nicknamed Bvondo for his violence-filled reign as the MDC youth wing leader and during his student days at the Midlands State University (MSU).

Chamisa was not a saint either, during his student days at Harare Polytechnic College where his name was synonymous with violence. Reports are that the year that he completed his studies at the institution there was no graduation ceremony as he promised to incite students to violently demonstrate and cause chaos on campus. Those who were studying at the college during the time testify of how Chamisa as the students' leader would urinate in food fridges to impress fellow students and create the impression that he was invincible.

It is evident from the foregoing that student unionism in Zimbabwe has become synonymous with opposition party politics, compromising the unions' ability to represent students and causing a great number of tertiary students who want nothing to do with party politics to actually shun national unions.

The involvement of ZINASU in the formation of the MDC in 1999 officially marked the beginning of the manipulation of students by political parties who use these students to advance their political careers when they are supposed to be concentrating on their studies and securing their future.  

The fact that Chamisa, Chidziva, Mamombe, Sithole just to name a few are now leaders in the opposition party when they were former student leaders, exposes a trend that some individuals view student unionism as a stepping stone into national politics. In a bid to secure their future with mainstream political parties, selfish student leaders bend to the whims and caprices of party leaders who seek to control the student unions in the hope that they will be given posts in such parties when they eventually move on from student politics.

For example, in the run-up to the 2013 elections in Zimbabwe some top-level ZINASU officials were allegedly enticed by MDC proxies into issuing a statement to the effect that their union was supporting that party in the elections, a move that disenfranchised other students from joining student leadership bodies. It also flagrantly disregarded other ZINASU members who were apolitical or did not want anything to do with the opposition political party.

The fact that the MDC inculcates a culture of violence in its party's youth is a demonstration of a tradition with a long history which was initiated by the founding fathers of the MDC who include the late Tsvangirai. The youths need to be taught that violence does not take one far in politics, what gives results is interaction with the electorate, listening to their concerns and devising ways to address the challenges.

Student activism is necessary to improve the education sector of the country but is being hijacked by power hungry leaders who infuse a culture of violence in the youths who will in turn take it into main stream politics. There is need for someone to tell Chamisa and his bandwagon of violent former student union leaders that days of using student activism as a stepping stone to mainstream politics and using violence as a means to a political end are futile. They should work to address the electorate's concerns instead of using violence against them.

Source - Dr Claver Nyuki
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