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The oxymoron of democracy in Chamisa's MDC

14 Jun 2019 at 07:50hrs | Views
The MDC-Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa is a party full of contradictions. It is common cause that the party is called the Movement for Democratic Change, itself a presumption of its "democratic" credentials. However, that party has proven that it is anything but democratic.

Chamisa has been pushing for negotiations between himself and the legitimately-elected President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to discuss the issue of the latter's "legitimacy," as President.

The basis for this warped thinking and belief by Chamisa is the misconceived defeatist notion that the election in 2018 was stolen. That it was his victory!

In his warped prognosis, he cannot, and should never be part of the ongoing Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) because his party is superior as it got more votes than the other losers combined. The irony of this logic is that it inadvertently accepts that Chamisa was first runner-up to President Mnangagwa. Secondly, it exposes his palpable disdain for democracy.

Democracy is the tyranny of the majority, but crucially, it accepts the criticality of inclusion of minorities in the decision-making process.

This is precisely why President Mnangagwa, the victor, was and still is magnanimous in victory. He has chosen to call the minority political parties, including the MDC-Alliance which lost, for inclusive dialogue pursuant to fostering inclusive politics — itself the hallmark of democracy.

Damning concession Newly elected MDC-Alliance deputy national chairperson Job Wiwa Sikhala, in typically Tendai Biti fashion, revealed what we have all along known, that MDC-Alliance's electoral losses are a result of paucity of democracy characterised by candidate imposition, gerrymandering and dirty tactics.

In the aftermath of the chastening defeat of the late Morgan Tsvangirai by then ZANU-PF candidate Robert Mugabe in 2013, Biti rightly pointed out that ZANU-PF won because it had a better campaign message compared to the then MDC-T.

Fast forward to 2019, ironically at a time the MDC-Alliance is grandstanding, claiming the illegitimacy of President Mnangagwa, Sikhala lets the cat out of the bag. Culture of imposition Speaking in Chinhoyi recently, Sikhala revealed the real reasons why the MDC-Alliance performs dismally in national elections and by-elections.

"Everybody who must lead in this party must come from the people. People must feel they own the leadership. They must be able to identify with the leaders that they voted for. We no longer want a situation whereby an individual, seated at home with his wife, writes down names of people he thinks should occupy certain positions. That will never happen again," railed Sikhala.

Wow! What a revelation. So this is what has been happening in the MDC-Alliance — a party that thrives on imposition. This is quite an eye-opener to those "stupid" blind followers.

Listening to Wiwa, I could not but help visualise Chamisa seated at home with his wife, Thokozile, jotting down names of his preferred office-bearers and imposing them on the party membership.

Dear reader, this undemocratic practice of imposition is currently at play in the MDC-Alliance. The disputed recently held congress excluded a number of posts in that party from the election process.

Instead, Chamisa ring-fenced posts such as that of organising secretary, secretary for publicity, secretary for elections, deputy treasurer-general, deputy secretary-general, as well as deputy information and publicity secretary.

It must be noted that during the provincial congresses, MDC-Alliance party structures nominated their preferred candidates to some of these posts, but Chamisa vetoed them, opting to nominate his allies in case they lost during the main congress.

At the time of penning this expose, Chamisa is still busy at home with Thokozile cherry-picking his acolytes to fill in the posts that he single-handedly ring-fenced from contestation. This is a cocktail for disaster. Chamisa and his MDC-Alliance have in earnest started engineering their inevitable defeat in 2023.

Election and Congress electoral malfeasance Thank God, we have candid people like Sikhala who call a spade a spade. The new deputy chairman also said that, "some of the problems that we are encountering are emanating from those people that have been in leadership positions for five years and are no longer wanted.

Those people then go under a tree or in the comfort of their homes, write the names of the district leadership without going through the election process." Sikhala hit the nail right on the head with a parting salvo, declaring that, "that practice of imposing the leaders has come to an end.

The will of the people and democracy must govern the operations of the party." Unbelievable! Astounding! The MDC-Alliance has just admitted that it has been undemocratic in its internal politics, which has logically resulted in electoral defeat at the hands of ZANU-PF, because that culture of imposition has alienated that party's disgruntled membership with their autocratic leadership.

Then, strangely, one hears Chamisa crying foul about last year's elections, claiming thy were rigged by ZANU-PF. The young man usurped power at a funeral, shredded that party's constitution, resulting in the split with Thokozani Khupe. As the saying goes, the rest is history — Chamisa lost the July 30 elections.

The consequences of trampling on internal democracy still haunt the MDC-Alliance, with a real possibility of that party losing its properties and vehicles to the MDC-T led by Khupe, a case which is still pending before the courts.

The party primaries leading to the July 30 elections were a charade with widespread imposition and the ridiculous practice of the consensus approach, where contestants were force-marched to "discuss" among themselves, without the electorate's blessing, to rubber-stamp Chamisa's preferred candidates.

The result was the widespread double-fielding of candidates, independent candidates and the fielding of unpopular candidates.

As a consequence, that party lost dismally to ZANU-PF and President Mnangagwa. In the run-up to the disputed 2019 congress, the provincial congresses were marred by blatant interference by Chamisa, who personally presided over the congresses, and in the process, intimidating delegates who failed to freely vote for fear of reprisals.

The "independent commission (the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions)" was elbowed out. The result was obvious, Chamisa was "nominated" without challenge, or more crudely, imposed himself. 2023 is around the corner and the effects of these undemocratic manoeuvres will be felt when, once again, that party will dismally lose to ZANU-PF.

The congress itself was characterised by blatant cheating, punctuated by nocturnal voting, deliberate voting without electricity, the bussing in of unaccredited delegates chosen "from under trees, or at home", to borrow the lucid Sikhala's description of the process.

2023 a foregone conclusion It is impossible for a party that survives on undemocratic practices in its internal processes to participate in a democratic national election, where it has no opportunity nor wherewithal to muddy the process, to expect to win.

The MDC-Alliance can only survive when contesting for power in an undemocratic process, something that will never happen in Zimbabwe as the independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) conducts itself admirably well.

I am not a prophet, nor am I a seer or fortune-teller, but the unfolding undemocratic events and processes in the MDC-Alliance point to yet another chastening defeat in 2023.

I foresee Sikhala becoming disillusioned by Chamisa's autocratic antics, especially given that at a time he is railing against imposition, Chamisa is under a tree or at home imposing his friends into leadership positions.

These appointees will be leaders without the led and the electorate among its party membership will definitely punish the MDC-Alliance in the ballot booth come 2023.

Source - the herald
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