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Tsvangi-xit moment?

25 Jun 2016 at 09:11hrs | Views
Our media pundits are at it again, misleading us into thinking that local opposition organisations are about to find each other, hopefully to form what might be called a party to challenge Zanu-PF. The euphoria over Joice Mujuru's small rally in Bulawayo, clearly oversized, was part of this small drama. The venue of that small do carries a mere 2 000, yet you heard wild claims of madame addressing 4 000 people!

And in spite of tight picture editing, we still saw empty spaces in that small venue! We also saw big faces that were not there, in ways quite portentous. If only wishes were numbers, venues would shrink as frost in rising morning, while numbers multiplying at the formulae of an amoeba.

I have no difficulties with parties that have cultivated gratuitous media goodwill, the greater part of it expressing itself as well cultivated, mediated lies consortia. Where I have difficulties is when those parties confuse the output of those few journalists they have made financially happy with the output of their work on the ground organisationally.

In politics it is not a purchased good headline which makes an electoral summer; rather it is forceful reality compelling reluctant media acknowledgement, however grudging or half-hearted, which does.

That is basically the difference between Mujuru's baby rally its vulgar screaming headlines and the Million-Man March with its contrived soto voce coverage.

Same political matriarch
Another amusing one related to a joint press release between Biti's PDP and Tsvangirai's MDC joint press release addressing Bretton Woods Institutions. Instead of simply seeing this as one more evidence of common Western ancestry of our opposition, the private media sought to see this as the returning rapprochement between Tsvangirai and Biti!

I mean does it take much to know that these two siblings, MDC and PDP, no matter how mutually hostile, suckle from the same breast and thus exhibit duplicate attitude to institutions which the same political matriarch sires?

And why waste paper especially if the press release comes from a shared briefing from some Western embassy? Why localise matters whose impetus is inherently exogenous?

But there are local issues which still need unpacking for the reader who might be wondering what the hell is going on, as Donald Trump fondly says. Here we go.

Wishing a man's end
I hate to write it, hate it the more given my consanguineous attachment to Tsvangirai, but it must be put on record that there is a grim reading of an impending leadership vacuum in MDC-T.

Many ex-members of the original MDC sordidly anticipate that sekuru Tsvangirai will be prostrated by the affliction which has kept him out of political circulation. Some even eerily dream of worse outcome.

What we have seen in the few weeks that have gone by, especially after Tsvangirai's hospitalisation in South Africa, has been predatory circling and hovering around the head that wears the MDC-T leadership crown.

It's a grim turn to succession, an ugly reminder that our social values or mores are fast waning under the withering heat of aggressive political ambition. One's state of unwellness does not occasion sympathies; rather it excites abrasive ambition for a take-over.

We are seeing a repositioning of the MDC "dissident" element from as far back as the first break-away to the most recent one involving Biti and company. There is that recognition that all those break-away efforts have not yielded anything better than what Tsvangirai remained with, itself already too severely weakened to do anything to Zanu-PF.

There is also an opinionated belief among these putschists that officials below Tsvangirai are junior to them, have remained so and will forever remain so, in which case a "return" will place them in positions of deserved, but delayed original eminence.

Of course the whispering campaign is to say Tsvangirai was himself the reason for divisions within the party, a line which David Coltart harps on in his recent book. Now that he is out of the way, they reason, the way should now be clear for them to return and assume leadership so "naturally" deserved.

When leader and organisation are not the same
Nor is Mujuru, the new political kid on the block, uninterested, which is why she has been taking a two-track approach: rattling opposition membership in her favour, while appearing to cosy up to the opposition leadership just in case.

And the "just in case" seems upon her now. Reports of meetings in South Africa so stoutly denied by the Mujuru side are in fact true. The strategy is simple: get what membership you can; negotiate to be the successor leader to that party in the meanwhile.

Obviously all these characters are aware of the huge, obstinate obstacles on their way. As any politically schooled person will readily tell you, leaderships and organisations do not always coincide. Whilst the ailing Tsvangirai may have struck a very good working relationship with Mujuru from the days of the inclusive government that need not be the attitude of the organisation which he leads.

We saw evidence of that already to require any further illustration here. Equally, while the ailing Tsvangirai may want to hand over leadership to men who used to be at the MDC helm before divisions, the organisation he now leads is sure to exhibit a more complex and nuanced position, with many skilful aspiring politicians working hard to stir up things for these returnees.

The PDP solidarity appearance at Mujuru's sparse rally in Bulawayo is obviously an attempt to augment her chances of taking over or winning over what Tsvangirai is thought about to leave behind.

Elephants in the room
Here are huge elephants in the room. Well, Tsvangirai is still around, albeit ailing. He could recover and come back politically in opposition terms. How you relate to an ailing acknowledged leader of a party could very easily make or break your ambitions, assuming the vacancy finally comes to pass.

A gleeful attitude could easily alienate the membership. Duplicitous or fawning proximity could also backfire. As, too, would opportunistic return, itself impliedly a wish for the worst for the leader.

Secondly, a whole leadership stratum has emerged after each sediment of MDC that fell away. True, not always cohesive — and it does not need to be — but career visibilities have evolved virtually inexorably.

The Khupes, Mwonzoras, Chamisas and Komichis (watch out that one) will not watch and wait while by-gone vultures whirl and hover back for a pick on an old carcass. They have deepened their claims, both at founding and after the fallout.

They also think the rolling campaign has proceeded because of them. Not that the demonstrations are anything to write home about nationally, but they are something enough to bang the desk for within MDC hallways.

Thirdly, MDC-T the organisation will prove a different creature politically, post-Tsvangirai. You would be a fool to expect it to pliantly and mutely follow the princes of ambition swop mortal blows successively.

It will exert pressure, exact new alliances and force new direction.

Fourthly and lastly, the exogenous factor — Euro-American stakeholders — will have influence, considerable influence. Already we have been seeing some new investments which these Westerners have been making in the opposition. With that investment will come some dictation of direction borne out of reconfigurations. Watch out that one.

Boorish Boris is coming
So it is much more than Brexit; it is also Tsvang-exit for the MDC opposition. But before going, a few notes on the shell that has shocked the British. The "leave" vote has carried the day, but in ways that could suggest future contests for more ethnic "leave" votes in future Britain and Europe.

The vote neatly showed yet again a fault line in the so-called United Kingdom. But that is for the British and Scots to worry about. Friends have been asking what that new development means for Zimbabwe. Obviously the jury is still out, but a few points should be apparent already. Zimbabwe must brace for a boorish Boris Johnson premiership. And the guy has definite, pro-white farmer views on Zimbabwe. The land issue could play anew and we better be ready.

Germany's Europe
Secondly, events in UK should be read together with developments in US. One hopes its not Boris and Donald. But even a Boris and a Hillary is bad enough for Zimbabwe. Both have shown open hostility towards Zimbabwe and her policies. And a Europe minus Britain will amount to Germany's Europe, in which case well-disposed countries like Belgium, Spain and Portugal might not do much to change the EU position towards Zimbabwe. And Germany did not need Britain to be opposed to Zimbabwe.

She has her own issues against us. So the struggle continues, I am afraid. But there is one interesting glimmer of hope. A new British PM is likely to be engrossed with home politics for quite a while to venture overseas.

The disengagement implies an overhaul of Britain which has been in the EU for more than 40 years. Equally, an American president with a now remade EU might have transatlantic headache to deal with. And of course a roaring Russia and an assertive China on maritime claims.

What we are witnessing both in American politics and European membership is something akin to 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. A remarking of key centres of global power. Obviously Russia is the only country I think has been preparing for this sea-change.

What all this presages for the small states like Zimbabwe, one cannot hazard to say just yet. But the omens are not very good, which is why we have to look at our own bootstraps. And revalorised resistance in a world where abrasive narrow nationalism — not globalisation — is gaining in strength. Icho!

nathaniel.manheru@zimpapers.co.zw.

Source - the herald
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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