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Tsvangirai's definition of the word 'change'

23 Feb 2022 at 19:34hrs | Views
It was in 1999 when Morgan Tsvangirai formed the Movement for Democratic Change a political party which many thought was going to remove Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power and bring the real change as far Zimbabwe governance is concerned. This article seeks to explore if the change which Tsvangirai meant in 1999 is the same change of today's Mwonzora and Chamisa's political formations.

The choice of the name the Movement of Democratic Change was not a mistake in 1999 but it was rather strategic. The key word in that name was the last word of the party name- "change". Usually the word change has that magic of raising hope and some sort of relief. The word change is associated with something new and it attracts excitement and that feeling of likeability. The word change may mean new ways of doing things, a change of government, a change in laws, a change in how the economy is going to be managed and change in everything.In any way who doesn't like change and who doesn't like new things.

From the onset the MDC party name was quite appealing to both the young and the elites of the society. A lot of people thought  a new dawn had come.

Soon after the formation of the MDC we saw the party winning a number of local and parliamentary seats with the party's climax in 2008 when the party managed to get the majority seats in parliament thereby strengthening the people's hopes for a change of the Zimbabwean regime. People thought  "the Zimbabwe we want was on the horizon''

It is very unfortunate that the movement failed to gain state power on time and in 2018 Morgan Richard Tsvangirai the founder of the  Movement for Democratic Change party died in a South African hospital almost eighteen years after launching  his political movement. Tsvangirai failed to bring any change he had hoped for when he formed his party in 1999.

Soon after the death of Tsvangirai we saw a vicious  dog fight between Chamisa , Mudzuri and Khupe on who was to succeed Tsvangirai while Mwonzora was also scheming in the background.  Chamisa through hook and crook muscled out his opponents and temporarily assumed leadership of the party and  in 2018 he lost the presidential race to Mnangagwa.

While Khupe was enjoying the  leadership of a splinter MDCT party , Chamisa and Mwonzora  wrestled  again within their faction for the party leadership which resulted in Chamisa losing the MDC party headquarters , assets , party name to Mwonzora but it looked like  continued to command much support from the bulk of the MDC supporters.

In 2022 Chamisa announced that he had formed a new political party outfit with a new named Citizens Coalition for Change. The word "Change" was maintained by Chamisa in his new party name.

The biggest question which came into my mind was; Will the word change alone work some magic for Chamisa and Mwonzora and propel either of  them to the state house in 2023?

Lets trace what the word change meant to Tsvangirai when he formed the MDC in 1999.Tsvangirai said Mugabe's government does not respect the constitution and does not respect the courts. He maintained his government will usher in a new constitution and will respect the courts. In 2018 we saw Chamisa refusing to respect the constitutional court which ruled that Mnangagwa was the winner of the 2018 presidential election. Again in 2020 Chamisa refused to respect the Supreme Court  which ruled that he was not legally the MDC president. He continued to call himself the MDC President and sometimes called himself the president of the people until last month when he declared himself the President of his new CCC party( we also wonder who elected him president of the so-called CCC party). What is very clear is that nothing new will come from Chamisa in terms of respecting the constitution and the courts.

The other change which Tsvangirai claimed he will bring to Zimbabwe was that of unity and equality between the Zimbabwean tribes. He claimed that no tribe was going to be superior or inferior to others. However, in 2005 we saw Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube breaking away from Tsvangirai. The 2005 MDC split was mainly based on tribal differences. The Welshman Ncube faction felt the Shonas were claiming superiority over them 'the Ndebeles' yet the majority of the MDC support was coming from the Matebele regions(this fact is yet to be validated) and so, they thought of breaking away from the Tsvangirai's Mashona faction was the right way to do so that they can do their own things the Matebeleland way. It was the same again in 2018 when Khupe decided to breakaway from the Shona Chamisa faction , and Khupe again did the same this year when she broke away from the Shona Mwonzora faction . There won't be any tribal tolerance  and unity  which will ever come from the MDC/CCC formations.

Tsvangirai's change in 1999 meant a change in governance. He meant that he will govern Zimbabwe in a better way. He meant local authorities will be better managed and no wonder Chamisa in 2018 started to talk of a 'smart cities' concept. It must be noted that the MDC/ CCC party has been presiding over the majority of Zimbabwe cities over the past twenty-two years. It is within those twenty years that Zimbabwe had seen the dirtiest cities ever since 1980.There is no refuse collection in the CBDs and in the residential area with Harare the capital city transformed to being the dirtiest city in Zimbabwe. There has been corruption after corruption scandal after scandal in the MDC /CCC run cities since 1999 yet if you visit their rallies there is much talk of Zanu PF corruption as if there is none within their tents. Some communities have gone for decades without running water.What a shame to the so-called change advocates.

The change which Tsvangirai meant in 1999 was that of servant leadership. Leaders who are selfless, leaders who are not into politics for money but we have seen Chamisa accepting a bullet proof vehicle worth US$120 000 yet rural schools need solar powered boreholes. Solar powered boreholes cost approximately US$4000 to install and with US$120 000 Chamisa could actually donate solar powered boreholes to 30 000 rural schools which can benefit thousands of rural school kids and teachers but he would find comfort in appropriating US$120 000 for his personal comfort. What a selfish leader!

The change which Tsvangirai meant in 1999 was that of creating powerful institutions as opposed to creating powerful individuals.  Prior to 1999 Zimbabweans were used to slogans like "VaMugabe Chete Chete" but we got surprised in  2018 when the "VaMugabe Chete Chete" slogan was changed to "Chamisa Chete Chete". We then heard Chamisa supporters declaring that they don't care about the MDC party but what they wanted was Chamisa. To them Chamisa was some form of deity , a god and indeed they ditched Tsvangirai's party and formed their own party - The Chamisa Chete Chete party.  Wotoona kuti hapana kwatiri kuenda zvakadhakwa zvese.

The MDC/CCC party is like a wolf in sheep skin. It's like a car indicating right when in actual fact it will turn left. We can liken the MDC/CCC party to the biblical hypocrites, they are pretenders and prophets of doom. What you see is not what you get.
It is fortunate to note that Zimbabweans are not  stupid. Zimbabweans are clever enough that they won't be tossed by every wind. Chamisa will yet again be shamed when Zimbabweans  will once again vote for their tried and tested Zanu PF candidates during the March 26 by elections and the subsequent 2023 General Elections. Chamisa will remain the twitter and the Banana and Yellow Republic President.

Etiwel Mutero is an archivist and a political analyst.

Source - Etiwel Mutero
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