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Can Professor Welshman Ncube and MDC rule Zimbabwe?

30 Apr 2013 at 07:45hrs | Views
This article is a response to some of the arguments raised especially by the MDC-T in Matebeleland. The party has sought to pour water into the hopes of our people that we are too few compared to Mashonaland and as a result Professor Ncube and MDC cannot rule Zimbabwe (probably based on the assumption that Shona people are so tribalistic that they cannot vote for a non-Shona).

The MDC-T says as a result of our (Matebeleland) smaller population, the MDC and Professor Welshman Ncube cannot rule Zimbabwe as we supposedly cannot win the elections in Mashonaland.

I'd like to respond to these statements pointing my message in this article at the people, especially of Matebeleland where the MDC-T of Morgan Tswangirayi carries the "you're too few therefore unite with MDC-T and remove Mugabe" gospel.

Let me state that this article may rile some of my comrades in the MDC for even countenancing the idea that Professor Ncube might not win the Presidency. I am just taking the worst case scenario, otherwise I am one strong believer in a Ncube-presidency after the next General Election.

Can Professor Ncube and MDC Rule Zimbabwe?
It is important to understand that my question is not "can Professor Ncube become the President", the question is: can Professor Ncube and MDC rule Zimbabwe? This is important to understand because being President and ruling are two different things. It is possible to be President but not necessarily rule.

My answer to the above question is that yes, Professor Ncube and MDC can rule Zimbabwe. But how? Here is how. If the people of Matebeleland (including the Midlands) (assuming all Shona people were tribalists, which isn't the case as we not only have Shona leaders and members in the MDC but supporters who are Shona) all unite and rally behind Professor Ncube and the MDC, the party will have a deciding vote in Zimbabwe. This will happen in three major ways.

1. In the first round of voting, neither Mugabe nor Tswangirayi will gunner enough votes (50%+1) to claim the presidency as many votes would have gone to the MDC and Professor Ncube. In the second round of voting, both Morgan Tswangirayi and Robert Mugabe will fall over each other begging the support of Professor Ncube and MDC in the second round so that they can win the presidency. It is here where our rulership as the people of Matebeleland and the Midlands begins.

We will now lay down our conditions for supporting either of the two candidates like the amendment of the Constitution to institute full devolution of power South African-style with such things as Provincial Assemblies with legislative powers, a Provincial Cabinet headed by a popularly elected Governor, a Provincial Consolidated Revenue Fund into which will be deposited all revenues raised in the Provinces and then an agreed upon share sent to the Central Government. The reader can see that we will be practically ruling here even without holding the Presidency.

2. The second way Professor Ncube and MDC will rule Zimbabwe will be through gannering a large number of parliamentary seats to prevent either Zanu PF or MDC-T from gaining an outright majority in Parliament. That way, they cannot pass any law without our support as they won't have the numbers required by law. Again, they will fall over each other for our support. Let us remember that Matebeleland and the Midlands (where Professor Ncube comes from), hold nearly a third of National Assembly seats at 65 seats. If we win all of those, neither Zanu PF nor MDC-T can ganner a parliamentary majority, which leads us to the third way Professor Ncube and MDC can rule Zimbabwe.

3. MDC-T Coalition Government with the MDC: I don't see Professor Ncube and MDC backing Mugabe and Zanu PF in the second round of the presidential election. Chances are that Professor Ncube and the MDC may back Morgan Tswangirayi's MDC-T (of course with the condition that MDC-T commits itself in black and white to non-violence, clean government without corruption, full devolution, celebration of our diversity, a culture of constitutionalism and rule of law). This would mean a Tswangirayi win of the Presidency, and as a result, a coalition government between MDC-T and MDC.

Tswangirayi will have to draw his ministers from both parties just like we have in the UK today where the Conservative Party of David Cameroon had to go into a coalition with the Liberal Party of Nick Clegg, with David Cameroon as Prime Minister and Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister. We also find the same in Israel with Prime Minister Benyamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu's Likud Party forming a coalition with right winger Avigdor Liberman's Beitnu, the centrist Yesh Atid and the right-wing Jewish Home Party. The latest example of these type of coalitions is that of Italy recently formed by the leftist Enrico Letta backed by the 'Berlusconites' of former Prime Minister the billionair Silvio Berlusconi.

Now, there is no doubting that a lot went into negotiations and compromises to form the Cameroon, Netanyahu and Letta governments in the UK, Israel and Italy respectively. Similarly, a Tswangirayi-Ncube government will involve lots of negotiations, compromises and give-ins. It is here that we as the MDC would lay down our demands as I spelled out earlier.

Cabinet Ministers will be drawn from both parties, and as a result, MDC ministers will be able to propose and actually pass laws. It is important to note that a coalition government is different from a government of national unity as there will be one center of authority, the President, as opposed to the cat-and-mouse situation that we have now with two centers of authority - the President and the PM. Of course that is not to suggest that there won't be any disagreements in the government or between the parties.

With that said, let us now look at the statement that "people of Matebeleland you're few", therefore "let's unite and rally behind Morgan Tswangirayi's MDC-T and remove Mugabe."

Are we few, and should we rally behind MDC-T?
If we the people of Matebeleland and the Midlands believed the statement that we are few and therefore a vote for Professor Ncube and MDC will be a waste of our votes, let's realize that all the three ways of rulling I propositioned above will be done away with. Entering into any electoral pact with MDC-T before election will mean we enter into government already weakened as it would seem that we only got the seats that we would have at the mercy of the MDC-T (some have actually suggested that had we backed Tswangirayi in 2008 we would have gannered more seats, and thus owed MDC-T a favor). That will weaken our leverage and bargaining power.

The only alternative is to sludge it out in the elections and win at least 70 seats (one third of National Assembly seats) so that we secure a strong bargaining position. So the statement that we are few is just meant to weaken us.

Secondly, the fact that we are few in Zimbabwe as a whole doesn't count for much under the new constitution. The new constitution provides for devolution of power to the provinces and an electoral system of proportional representation. The two provisions mean that only the party holding either the highest number of seats or votes in a province is the one that governs that province, not the one that got more seats nationally. Practically this means self-government and self-determination on our part. We may be few in Zimbabwe but we are not few in our Provinces.

Thirdly, the two statements that I presented above as positioned by the MDC-T in Matebeleland are a contradiction. If we are few (supposedly compared to the Shona, who it is wrongly assumed all support MDC-T or Zanu PF), what then are the "majority" looking for in the "minority"? Why don't the majority go on in their 'majorityness' and remove Mugabe and Zanu PF? Why don't the many just go on without the few?

In any case, the gospel of "let's unite and remove Mugabe" cannot be rightfully preached to us in Mat'land because we removed Zanu PF and Mugabe long back. That gospel has to be preached in Mashonaland where they have still been voting for Zanu PF and Mugabe.

The other thing, we of Mat'land cannot be told to focus on removing Mugabe when in actual fact Zanu PF itself is, according to media reports, already planning for a post-Mugabe era. They know one way or the other he won't last. In TjiKalanga we say "kadlana tjowohahhilopkhwa". Selidumela emasumpeni in IsiNdebele I believe. Our focus should therefore not be just on removing Mugabe (who we have already removed in our Provinces), but on reforming the Zanu PF-established institutions that have ensured our marginalization, the Gukurahundi Genocide, etc.

Conclusion - Yes, MDC and Professor Ncube Can Rule Zimbabwe
Even if Professor Ncube were not to win the presidency (a worst case scenario since his victory can't be ruled out), he and the party that he leads, the MDC, can still rule Zimbabwe. We have said in the article this can happen in three major ways: gannering enough votes in the first round of the presidential election to force either Mugabe or Tswangirayi to seek our support to win the second round (which support will be given with conditions); holding a kingmaker role in parliament by ensuring that whatever party will win the presidency, it will not do so with a parliamentary majority, and as such will need our support to pass laws; and lastly, a coalition government will result in the appointment of MDC ministers (which is an important power center).

To the people of Matebeleland, the Midlands and Manicaland (one of the regions where our party is growing fastest and the Manyika aren't directly benefiting from diamonds mined in their Province and can only do so through full devolution of power such as the MDC stands for), we aren't few. We can rule Zimbabwe by voting for Professor Ncube and the MDC. The power lies in our hands, let's now use it, as the Cell-C advert goes. Ndaboka. Ke a leboha. Ndolivhuwa.

Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo is Secretary for the MDC (Plumtree) and writer of the book, The Rebirth of Bukalanga. He writes here in his private capacity, and the opinions expressed in this article are not those of the MDC but his own.

Source - Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo
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