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Constitutionalism versus Populism: A tale of the MDC-Alliane's dilemma

17 May 2020 at 09:20hrs | Views
THE genesis of problems daunting MDC today can clearly be traced back to 2016, if not earlier as the party has a brave tendency of choosing populism over constitutionalism, sad story from the same "democratic" party which claims to value the law's dictates.

How can a party advantaged with membership of a renowned lawyer, Tendai Biti and the youthful advocate, Nelson Chamisa, constantly fail to interpret the law when it comes to its internal politics. It begs the question, is it ignorance of the law, or convenient decoding tailored to suit the financial fortunes, or leadership positions of the "preferred" leaders?

For instance no one dared to question moves by the late godfather of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai when he controversially appointed two vice-presidents, Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri, in addition to Thokozani Khupe who had been elected to this position during the party's 2014 Congress. Why didn't they follow their constitution back then?

I suppose no one dared to be disloyal towards the founding father of the party, another scenario presenting itself today as Chamisa rides on fame and popularity from the party's loyal youths, at the expense of the same party's constitutional dictates. Surely MDC still has a lot to learn about constitutionalism. While Chamisa seems to assume that loyalty and populism will determine the fate of his party as compared to constitutionalism, one wonders at the self-contradiction he presents, as he is also the same person who always emphasises on the need to abide by the constitution of the land, surely he can also do that.

The fractured opposition party currently needs to make a bold decision and bold move over what they prioritise as a party and what they intend to sell to the electorate come 2023, the dilemma which explains Chamisa's conspicuous silence, as he calculates his next move. But clearly the same democratic party which has been selling constitutionalism and democracy, and respect for the rule of law can't go back on its words now, can it?

The word "loyal" is a common one in political commentary and conversation, but it is often verging on spin. It gives a vague, olde-worlde glow to something more prosaic, pragmatic, and sometimes pernicious. Hopefully the move by the party's legislators to stay put in parliament isn't misunderstood to be disloyalty. The legislators' recent denial to back off from parliament shouldn't be misconstrued to mean betrayal, but instead standing up for oneself, and finally correcting constitutional errors which had been left for far too long. I am sure Chamisa can appreciate that, and would have probably done the same.

This move isn't betrayal, instead it becomes betrayal the minute Chamisa expects every legislator to jump to his defence yet in the first instance Chamisa and advisors knew they were not legitimate but still went on to "use" the legislators to form an "alliance." Given Khupe's track record, it certainly casts doubt over the MDC party's credibility as an alternative to Zanu-PF having garnered less than a tenth of the voters in the 2018 elections. At the same time Chamisa knows that without any firm political party structures he doesn't have any political clout to rally Zimbabweans against Zanu-PF, a bitter pill to swallow.

Indeed his political ambitions of leading the country remain a distant mirage. Sadly the MDC-Alliance's rants that it is unmoved by the court ruling are actually turning out to have been nothing other than mere rants from a spoilt little princess, hoping to ride on fame and loyalty, at the expense of constitutionalism. Students' activism days are over for Chamisa and he just got a stench welcome to the real world.

Quoting from Chamisa's twitter sometime last month, "Constitutionalism is not what naysayers, sceptics opponents of people's freedom say it is. Constitutionalism is leadership by rules and for that reason, the very definition of our DNA."

Sadly as of now, he is in breach of that very constitution, riding on ambition, entitlement and populism. Chamisa is a hypocrite, merely paying lip service to democracy and constitutionalism while disregarding his own party's constitution. It's a pity Tsvangirai didn't trust his party's democratic processes to make the right choice for the people they intend to lead. Now, all that's left is a gullible electorate having been sold a dummy these past years with no viable political alternative that can be trusted with constitutionalism and rule of law in Zimbabwe.

Source - sundaynews
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