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The NCA must delay the formation of a new political party

03 May 2013 at 17:06hrs | Views
Wow! What a dramatic week we have just had I tell you!

Funny enough, since it was a week encapsulating the workers/labour day commemorations, everyone could have expected the trade unionists to be the centre of all public attention. However this was not to be. Instead the proletariat were completely overshadowed by other more interesting stories to write home about

Firstly the Zambian Vice President set the cats among the pigeons by conducting what was meant to be a candid interview with a British media correspondent. Little did he know that his somewhat fresh and frank style could cause such a diplomatic row between Zambia and South Africa? As I write, the South African government has summoned the local Zambian high commissioner in Pretorian to explain the VPs remarks in a much more diplomatic language

Secondly, here in South Africa it could have been more logical to expect the on-going strike by transport and allied workers unions to take centre stage or even the tensions within the ruling tripartite alliance. But this was not to be.

Instead all the limelight was stolen by the Indian oligarchy known as the Guptas. One of the daughters of this well connected family decided to get married at the exotic Sun City luxury resort in north western South Africa. Some 200 guests were flown on a chartered flight from India to South Africa to attend what has already been dubbed by the local media as the country's wedding of the year.

In fact it all looked a bit normal until the chartered plane did not land at the Oliver Tambo international airport as ordinarily expected. Instead, the plane landed at a special military airport at Waterkloof in Pretoria. Some special arrangements had to be made for the 200 passengers to legally enter the country.

This included the deployment of immigration officials to administer their travel documents and also the VIP protocol section of the local police force who had to escort the tourists out of the airport. Oddly enough, it was further reported that since there were no customs officials at the airport, the visitors did not have their luggage checked at all.

Not surprisingly, a huge storm has erupted around the Gupta wedding arrangements. So what was meant to be a happy private social event has escalated into a controversial national debate. Everyone in South Africa is now busy talking about the alleged abuse of State sponsored privilege by the Guptas.

However for me, the biggest story of the week was the announcement by the leader of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Professor Lovemore Madhuku that a new political party could be formed soon in Zimbabwe.

According to media reports, Madhuku made this intimation at the Raylton Sports Club in Harare where he was addressing a May Day rally organised by the concerned affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

In the broader scheme of things, Madhuku's announcement is a major shift from his original stance against the formation of a political party. As recent as 2011, Madhuku vehemently denied speculation that the NCA was planning to transform into a political movement.

However in light of the outcome of the COPAC driven constitutional making process for the past three years that culminated in the adoption of a new Constitution for Zimbabwe, the NCA desperately needed to re-group and re-chart its way forward.

As such if Madhuku's statement this week is anything to go by, it now means that there has been a major revision in terms of the NCA's strategy. The NCA no longer sees itself as a mere constitutional movement but as a broader political movement that plans to be a new home for all the Zimbabweans who are disaffected by the on-going polarised and factionalised political processes under both Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change.(MDCs)

It now seems as if the NCA sees a gap in the electoral market that it hopes to explore to its maximum political benefit. The jury is still out on whether this analysis is the most appropriate one in the circumstances. However what remains clear is that there are two crucial considerations that need to be further interrogated going forward.

First it could prove to be a curious experience when trying to transform the NCA into a political movement.

Does that mean the new party will inherit the already existing constituency based local structures of the NCA? Does that mean that the NCA will hold an extra-ordinary consultative meeting where a clear resolution calling for its own dissolution will be formally adopted? Conversely, does it mean that the NCA will elect a new leadership first and then continue to exist separately from the new political movement?

Secondly and perhaps even more crucially, will the new political party be launched before or after the much anticipated harmonised national elections?

If it is formed before the elections, it then means that the new party is likely to destabilise the voting trends especially on the part of the original opposition parties such as the MDCs. This could also lead to a possible split of the votes against the hegemony of Zanu (PF).

However if the party is formed after the elections, its role could be totally different. It could form the basis of a broad based alliance against the new ruling party, be it Zanu (PF) or one of the MDCs. In that case, it will mean a totally new political movement altogether.

This is in fact is my considered view. I think that it maybe best for the NCA to first focus on finalising its own transitional process prior to the national elections.

Then after the elections, the NCA can be one of the key instigators of an aggregated new political movement that will seek to try to challenge the political status quo and take Zimbabwe towards a new political dispensation altogether.

In the meantime, the least that Madhuku or NCA and its allies could do is to form a public pressure platform that will seek to represent the broad interests of all concerned citizens of Zimbabwe. Something like a Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe alliance could just do it for now.

Shipping vehicles from UK to Zimbabwe for less
Source - Daniel Molokele
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