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'Zimbabwe safer in Zanu-PF hands,' says former MDC policy chief

03 Nov 2013 at 05:17hrs | Views
The policy chief of the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Qhubani Moyo, recently crossed the floor to join Zanu-PF and believes the people of Matabeleland are still stuck with politics of vengeance and ignore chances that are availed by Government. Our Features Editor Isdore Guvamombe spoke to him on this and other issues

IG: You were the director of policy and research in MDC and highly regarded as one of the intellectuals in the party. That is a very powerful post and powerful attribute. What made you resign from the party after the elections?

QM: The leadership of the party saw it fit for me to occupy the influential and powerful post of director of policy and research because of my strong academic rooting in public policy and also as a university lecturer in policy development and implementation. I also have a passion for debates on policy issues and believed in politics of promotion of policies and not personalities. I was also a keen debater on the public platforms both as a writer and speaker on how best we can improve our politics by graduating from trivial personality enclaves to entrenchment of policy positions in our political discourse. I am glad I did not disappoint in that position but regrettably in the election of 31 July the people especially in our region made some political choices which were difficult to swallow and began to make us start thinking about the sustainability of our political trajectory. For two months I had serious self-introspection and debate on my political future and in the end had to make that painful decision that comfortable as I was and occupying the important position in the MDC I could not serve our people the way I wanted and also that I could not achieve political self-actualisation and then left gracefully and in a dignified manner and let those who wanted to continue in that trajectory do so without thinking I am with them when physically and emotionally I was out.

IG: Why are you then joining the Zanu-PF Government as information officer when Zanu-PF's policies are at variance with those of the MDC?

QM: It is not true that I am joining the Government as information officer; there is no such offer on the table. However what I have said is that I am available and prepared to serve in the Government of Zimbabwe should an opportunity arise. I have maintained that position but so far that opportunity has not arisen but if it does I am available and willing to take it and deploy all my skills in public policy and other areas for the betterment of the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. The truth of the matter is that politics is a moving target and you can't be stagnant in the face of huge changing dynamics in the body politic of your country. The 2013 elections in Zimbabwe represented a significant change a totally different situation which make a new era similar to that of 1980 and for those who want to move with the future it is time to make important political decisions like the one I made to work with Government and use your skills for the benefit of the country. I have refused to be a prisoner of political labels and have chosen to change my mind but knew that in the process I will suffer all sorts of abuses and I would lose friends and colleagues in the process. Besides beyond the elections a government is formed and on the basis of its manifesto constructs policies that are enforceable for all to follow and whether you want it or not you are bound by them. I have chosen to be an active participant and not passive recipient of those policies and have a desire in being part of the implementation mechanism.

IG: As MDC director of research and policy, did the MDC leadership listen to your findings?

QM: The leadership of the party was open to constructive engagement and allowed for sustained discussions on policy related issues. It was on the weight of the strength of the argument that a policy position made the day not on the seniority of the persons presenting them. So it was not a matter of them listening to you because of your status but an issue of how sound and supported they were. Basically there was room and respect for the diversity of the views and a way of concluding deliberations in a manner that provided a balance and reflection of consensus. My colleagues would agree that on strength of balance even when my arguments did not win the day they were taken seriously. Most of the times they got the ear of the leadership.

IG: Is your move to join the Zanu-PF Government an admission that the MDC has no future?

QM: My thinking is that the MDCs in their current form and short of major reforms and reconfigurations to meet the changing political realities have suffered a major dent and may go down, never to come up. Zanu-PF has had its own share of problems including fighting huge global powers on the economic front and has survived the onslaught. What that means is that they now know what to do correctly and what not to do and that you can't take for granted people's power because they might take it from you. But most importantly the changing powers in global economics and emergence of new economic power houses like China, India, Brazil, Russia amongst others means that the Government of Zimbabwe can grow the economy well minus the traditional economic giants like USA and EU but those countries will soon begin to engage because they have so much to lose by isolating themselves from Zimbabwe's natural resources that are a pillar to the advancement of the new world

IG: You are on record as saying most of the people in Matabeleland do not take up opportunities when they are presented, yet they complain a lot. Can you elaborate?

QM: Most Matabeleland people have since independence been suspicious of the Government and the situation was made worse by the human rights violations which took place in the early 1980s. As a result they decided to shun and are militant with government institutions because of anger and emotion which are understandable given the background. This anger explains the voting patterns which have seen Bulawayo remain the symbol of hatred of the system as they define it. But going forward it does not help to surrender our destiny and pretend we are not part of Zimbabwe. There is need to work and create opportunities and where they exist utilise them. There is also a need to realise that the only way of driving development is to work with the Government because government is the driver of development. The rest can play a complimentary role. So since this government is saying come let's work together for the revival of Bulawayo and the rest of Zimbabwe the people of the region should not shun those opportunities but must compliment the government and hold it accountable as well as maximise productivity in a manner that improves our livelihoods.

IG: MDC lost all the seats it contested, in your view what was the problem?

QM: The problem is that in the areas where we thought we had the support people had other ideas especially in Bulawayo and other parts of Matabeleland where the vote was more to do with anger and hatred against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and a false belief that Morgan Tsvangirai was so popular all over the country that he would beat Mugabe. The voting was not on who had the best policies but more a race of vengeance. But unfortunately what the people of Bulawayo did not know is that voters don't think in a linear fashion because the election results actually reflected that it was more of a "Tsvangirai-must-go than a Mugabe-must-go election". Now we (people from Matabeleland) are stuck with Tsvangirai when the rest of the country has moved on with Zanu-PF.

IG: From MDC to Zanu PF how are you going to manage the transition given that you were the policy guru in MDC?

QM: In reading the Zanu-PF policy document I don't feel very much lost because they speak to the importance of empowerment of local communities, a key tenet of devolution which was the cornerstone of the MDC. In Zanu-PF community share schemes I see a policy that connects with my beliefs and in the their redistributive policies in particular the means of production and natural resources, I see a fulfilment of the dictates of the Pan African agenda as was espoused by the founding fathers like Nkrumah, Nyerere and Kenyatta among others. So I see no difficulties in identifying with the Zanu-PF polices. I am continuing with my interaction and engagement with a number of people among its ordinary membership as well as senior leadership with a view of even understanding it better. I am making lots of interesting discoveries that make me think Zimbabwe is safer in Zanu-PF hands than any other party.

IG: Can you do a brief comparative analysis of the leaders of the three main political formations, Welshman Ncube, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai?

QM: President Robert Mugabe is an embodiment of the liberation struggle and Pan Africanism as well as nationalist ideas. He is also an experienced astute politician who has seen it all and ranks highly among many Africans because of his economic redistributive policies. He has had his own share of problems but has been correcting them and when he leaves office his legacy will remain inscribed in permanent ink. Morgan Tsvangirai presented short term solutions to the problems affecting the country and failed to translate protest to real support and his support was equally short term and with the new political dynamics his time seems gone with the short political sprint.

Professor Welshman Ncube is a shrewd political tactician who is still growing in the processes of national entrenchment and needs to be more embracing to other players and should be flexible otherwise he will continue being a victim of being too principled in an environment that requires high levels of flexibility.

IG: You are leaving an MDC house that is on fire over the Secretary General Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga. What really is the problem with the SG's issue?

QM: I have always maintained that the way I know the party leadership they are capable of finding common ground with all the dissenting parties. But an important point is that if they are to survive they should not point their guns inwards, this is what killed most opposition in Zimbabwe. Whatever procedural irregularities that could have characterised her election I think the party should also celebrate that it has someone so senior and influential in parliament. She is the best person to keep the little flame burning because of her national appeal, political experience and international connections. The party is better off with her in that post but the leadership should also not pretend the problem will just disappear without decisions. What I know is that most of the disgruntled people are crying for an audience and attention. But if there are persecutions of party cadres dissenting then it will make the recovery processes very difficult for the party.

IG: How do you see Zimbabwe's future under Zanu-PF?

QM: My conclusion about Zanu-PF and the way it started its new mandate is that its 'business unusual' as there is s strong appetite for reconfiguration of national institutions to drive the country into new heights. There seems to be a desire to transform the civil service into a fully fledged efficient machinery which will be results-oriented. There is also willingness to embrace deliberative and inclusive governance where views on governance include the ordinary voter. Most importantly there seems to be a desire to respect the Constitution and grow the economy so that the country becomes an economic giant that it used to be.

Source - herald
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