Sikhala case exposes MDC confusion, dilemma

Sikhala case exposes MDC confusion, dilemma
Published: 17 July 2019 (140 Views)
MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa, and his top lieutenants should be ruing the day that party's deputy chair, Job Sikhala, told party supporters at a rally in Bikita East last week that the MDC would overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa before 2023. The party's reaction to Sikhala's irresponsible utterances have hung out on the political clothesline for all to see the confusion, contradictions and dilemma in the MDC despite its claims that it emerged from this year's elective congress a more united party.  

Upon realising the serious nature and potential consequences of Sikhala's treasonable statement, the party through its deputy secretary for information, Luke Tamborinyoka, swiftly put together a statement disowning Sikhala's careless utterances and reaffirming its commitment to legality, constitutionalism and democracy. This was going to be great if only the opposition outfit meant every word of its otherwise perfunctory statement. One would have believed the MDC's statement hook, line and sinker if the party's past record was not so chequered. Only two months ago, Chamisa, speaking during his party's congress, threatened "war" on President Mnangagwa. Its past violent, destructive and mindless protests make it easier for one to believe Sikhala's utterances more than the MDC's official position on the matter as given in Tamborinyoka's statement.

Contradiction

Is it any surprise at all that Chamisa's close ally and favourite, the party's spokesman, Daniel Molokele, is not the one who penned and issued the statement? Why was an otherwise redundant Tamborinyoka pulled out of the storage cabinet, dusted off and directed to author and publicise the statement? Chamisa knew of the potential backlash from the party's grassroots members? He spared Molokele from the assignment so that when the need to disown it comes, he would simply deny authorising the issuing of the statement.

These internal dynamics aside, the incident exposed the contradiction between the party's leadership and its rank and file membership. The former knew the legal implications of Sikhala's  utterances,  hence the statement, while the latter, who have invested emotionally in the party to the extent of supporting anything said and done in the name of the party, felt that the MDC had thrown Sikhala under the bus. The party leadership rescinded its earlier position and climbed down. Chamisa quickly took to twitter and described Sikhala in glorious terms describing him as someone who loved Zimbabwe.

This has always been the MDC's Achilles' heel - lack of a definite position and ideology. The party has always been blown by any wind that wafts by. It started off as a workers' party, morphed into a capitalist outfit which was supported by business and white former farmers and now it has no known ideology. Chamisa's prevarication on the Sikhala matter, therefore, does not come as a surprise.

If Chamisa was a serious leader worth the term he would unequivocally condemn Sikhala's utterances irrespective of the party members' views thereon. He should have told them of the negative consequences of the statements and the legal implications thereof. Chamisa generally loves populism. It enables him to make up for his lack of substance, which saw him being rejected by the electorate in the ballot booth on 30 July last year.
   
Torn apart
Due to lack of a sound ideology the MDC has always operated on the mercy of its Western handlers and for this reason it does not have much leeway to make key decisions on some important issues independently. After the congress and Chamisa's ominous threats of "war" one would have expected a repeat of the 14 to 16 January protests within a week in gargantuan proportions given his propensity for student activism-like destructive and violent protests but this has not happened. This is because the owners of the project, which he fronts as a titular leader, have moved from the "Mugabe/Mnangagwa must go!" politics of yesteryear to give President Mnangagwa and his team a chance following his poll victory last year. They now prefer dialogue to Chamisa's baseless confrontation. They have accepted the reality of a Mnangagwa electoral victory and the resultant Government. The anti-Sikhala statement was, therefore, calculated to keep in good books with the creators, funders and sustainers of the MDC project as the party firmly believes in violent protests.

Given this background, Chamisa and his hangers-on are torn between toeing their handlers and owners' line of dialogue and development and the party's own unnecessarily confrontational approach.  They are torn between losing their members who desire a non-existent Chamisa win and "Government" like yesterday and pleasing their masters by participating in dialogue which will take the country forward. He is insisting on the non-existent illegitimacy issue as the sole trump card to while up some time for, as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the patience of the world, which includes his handlers, will snap leaving him exposed.
 
Time to decide
The world has entertained the MDC's cry baby complaints against ZANU PF for nearly two decades now. It has listened and watched while the party, which claims to champion democracy, shredded its democracy rule book internally. It has watched as the so-called party of excellence rolled out mindless protests which negatively affected innocent people and businesses such as the Choppies retail group.

The world has watched as Chamisa and the late Morgan Tsvangirai, before him, claimed election rigging on the part of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in favour of ZANU PF to make up for their own party's shortcomings only to embarrass themselves by failing to adduce any irrefutable evidence to buttress their claims.

The global community has watched in disbelief as the MDC's so-called zones of autonomy, the local authorities which are dominated by MDC councillors, being plundered by the same opposition officials. It has watched as the zones have come to be associated with dirt, disease and death due to poor service delivery born of poor management and a penchant for looting.  

The MDC is failing or refusing to read the signs etched on the Zimbabwean political wall. It is finding it hard to embrace the reality that it got a 20-year chance to guinea pig in local authorities its stewardship of public institutions to convince the country and the world that it was capable of running a country. It squandered the chance by neglecting its mandate and prioritising self-enrichment.

This cannot go on forever. This is why the party's handlers are now insisting on the party moving away from baseless activism and taking a long and hard look at itself in the mirror instead of insisting on power which is has failed to earn or exercise. Their owners do not just have the MDC to mind when it has failed to deliver its side of the bargain for two decades. They obviously will not continue to indulge the party while their competitors on the global arena such as China are cutting business deals with Zimbabwe while the MDC which they thought would be their ticket to the country's rich resources plays cry baby.

In view of this, it is time the MDC decides to work with other Zimbabweans rather than overthrowing the country's President as the party risks being rejected by its owners in the same way that Chamisa was rejected by the electorate last year.


- Nobleman Runyanga

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