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The MDC Alliance's warped view of democracy

16 Aug 2021 at 06:40hrs | Views
Over a week ago, President Mnangagwa launched his biography, "A Life of Sacrifice".  As expected, his detractors like journalist Hopewell Chin'ono and self-exiled G40 kingpin, Professor Jonathan Moyo out of baseless bitterness and petty jealousy, dismissed the literary work as a hagiography.  

Their main bone of contention was that the book did not address the Gukurahundi disturbances, which occurred in the Matabeleland region and some parts of the Midlands Province from 1983 to 1987, when President Mnangagwa was the Minister of State Security. The two and their ilk choose to conveniently forget that he was neither the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander nor the Commander in Chief of Zimbabwe's Defence Forces at the time.

Prof Moyo knows that former President Robert Mugabe was the Commander in Chief at the time and therefore the buck stopped with him.  

Chin'ono, Prof Moyo and company are fully aware that Government is tackling the Gukurahundi issue through the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) with the view to bring closure to the affected citizens.  It is an ongoing issue, which no one in his right mind would include in a biography before it is concluded and closure achieved. People are entitled to their opinions on the President's biography.

Like any literary work, the book is expected to be subjected to scrutiny by experts, politicians and members of the public without playing opposition politics in the process.  Like any other book, the biography is not expected to address every issue that every Zimbabwean has. Those who feel that the book did not address a specific area, by all means, they are entitled to research, write and publish their own work, as long as they remain fair to the President.

 It is, therefore, very surprising that able writers like Prof Moyo and Chin'ono should holler loud and long on social media about perceived shortcomings of the President's biography as if they cannot write.  

Instead of trying to wring cheap political capital out of the book, they should write their own biographies and provide meticulous details on their own chequered lives.  

While Prof Moyo and Chin'ono chose to dwell on the President and the contents of his biography, the MDC Alliance (MDC-A) faction's treasurer, David Coltart elected to be very personal with the author of the book, Edward Cross, who is a former MDC politician and legislator in Bulawayo.  

"It is remarkable to hear Eddie Cross grovel like this and to speak such untruths — ignoring the grave illegalities and murders which surrounded the 2018 election. I am shocked," tweeted Coltart in a self-righteous tone on the day of the launch.
 
The cover of the President's biography Yes, the August 1 2018 incident is regrettable. That is why President Mnangagwa appointed a high level Commission of inquiry into the matter the same year and its findings are still being implemented. It is known that Coltart is infamous for his Selous Scouts days during the liberation war where he killed both liberation war veterans and innocent citizens some of whom he heartlessly shoved in disused mines.

 Cross, on the other hand was a captain of industry. He led the likes of then Dairy Marketing Board (now Dairibord Zimbabwe) and the then Cold Storage Commission (now the Cold Storage Company).  Coltart stood for repression and the killing of black people while Cross stood for progress.  Decades later, despite Cross' sojourn in the MDC, the two remain diametrically opposed to each other.  

Coltart remains tethered to his past hatred for the revolution that brought Zimbabwe's independence and anyone who associates with it.   It is surprising that Coltart sought to make the August 1 2018 incident an issue in a matter relating to the President's biography when the whole event was sparked by his then party's mindless youths who went on a rampage in Harare's streets destroying everything in sight until the police could no longer contain the situation on their own.

Even his faction leader, Nelson Chamisa described the protest participants as "stupid" and, for once, correctly so too because it was not necessary to protest over Presidential election results, which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was still collating and announcing.  The response to Coltart by other Twitter users betrayed the faction and its supporters' warped understating of democracy.

The faction claims to champion democracy, but cannot brook a former member not only supporting the ruling party's first secretary, but writing his biography too.  Democracy does not mean that one's opponents should be everyone's enemies.  If Coltart and company view President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF as enemies surely no law compels all citizens of the country to regard them as such.

Zimbabwe's constitution guarantees citizens the right and freedom to associate with whoever they wish, the President and the ruling party included. The responses further exposed the fact that the MDC-A faction's members live in denial of the very basic fact that Zimbabweans are free to join political parties of their choice, leave and even re-join if they feel like.  

In Zanu-PF, many members of the infamous G40 group left the party in late 2017 and upon realising the error of their ways applied to re-join the revolutionary party and were gladly and warmly received back.  

In the MDC-A faction, people like Cross, Lilian Timveous and Blessing Chebundo who left are instantly labelled infiltrators.  One wonders what kind of democracy the faction is pushing for.  

Coltart and company should embrace the reality that democracy is not about political grudge-nursing against other citizens.

It is about accepting that fellow citizens are free agents who can associate with whoever they wish at any time within the confines of the law.  For as long as the MDC-A faction senior members continue to view people like Cross as enemies or Zanu-PF infiltrators their outfit will continue to be deserted.  They will continue to be known as masters as losing elections — a tag they have worn for the past two decades.  

For as long as they pack citizens into labelled silos they will not be able to rescue themselves from the ongoing self-inflicted free-fall, which they unfairly and baselessly scapegoat Zanu-PF.  No wonder Zanu-PF Acting Political Commissar, Patrick Chinamasa said that the revolutionary party has the 2023 poll victory in the bag already.  This is because in the MDC-A faction, Zanu-PF has no meaningful competitor if Coltart's comments are anything to go by.

Source - the herald
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