MDC's not-so-happy birthday

MDC's not-so-happy birthday
Published: 13 September 2017 (252 Views)
That was the story of September 11, 2017, the occasion of Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party as it turned a significant 18 years of age.

The year 18 is often celebrated as the legal age of majority, the age of maturity and a juncture at which one is expected to be responsible enough as to take civic duties.

That is the standard across the world.

It is supposed to be such a significant signpost and marker of history.

The Movement for Democratic Change was formed on September 11, 1999 and went on to become Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party which, within months of its formation, almost caused a major upset in its first election contest.

During elections held between June 24-25, the MDC won 57 of the 120 elected seats, with 47 percent of the popular vote while the ruling Zanu-PF won 63 seats which translated to about 48 of the popular vote.

The MDC had arrived.

It was led by the firebrand Morgan Tsvangirai who had made his name as a trade unionist, being the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU.

The MDC subsequently became a permanent player in our political fixtures.

Only, at 18, the party does not seem to be enjoying entry into the world of adulthood, majority or maturity – take your pick.

It has long lost its v-rginity and novelty.

It is looking horrible, slovenly and haggard.

It does not have the glow and promise of a teenager entering the world with confidence.

The MDC is limping, refusing to look people in the eye and drags itself about among the shadows as though coming from an ordeal of drunken rape.

The party has been through a lot since it was born.

Morgan Tsvangirai has led the party for 18 years and it has progressively declined under his watch.

It has split on two major occasions:

In 2005, when Welshman Ncube and Gibson Sibanda, among others, went away unhappy with Tsvangirai's violent dictatorship.

In 2014, Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma and others left the organisation decrying the same violent dictatorship and strongly yearning for leadership renewal.

In between there had been low key splinters and defections such as Job Sikhala's formation of his MDC 99 outfit.

Ironically, in September 2017, these men are back together (save for Mangoma, although a member of his Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe Pishai Muchauraya recently rejoined Tsvangirai).

This is under the banner of a coalition going under the loose name of MDC Alliance.

The flip side is that the MDC is facing yet another split, this time with deputy president Thokozani Khupe appearing to seek to break away.

In fact, this may as well have cast a pall on the party's 18th birthday.

The fear of a major split is so real and big that there has been a massive stand-off between Tsvangirai and his first elected deputy.

Khupe is against the above reunion under the aegis of the Alliance.

Her argument is that it does not add value to the waning opposition and unduly rewards people like Welshman who may end up being her superior.

Her sentiments appear to be motivated by self-interest anchored on regional dynamics but she has the support of the whole Matabeleland provinces and top officials, namely party chairman Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe.

In these past few weeks she has stood her ground and the fear of another split has come to be ever present, real and continuing.

One of the newspapers announced that Tsvangirai and his deputy were due to meet on Monday in an effort to find common ground and avert a split.

For these past few weeks Khupe had refused to meet Tsvangirai, except "at a neutral venue" preferably in the Nyanga resort area.

It is not clear if the meeting took place on the party's birthday.

Let's analyse the issue in another way.

In these days of social media when people can afford to paint roses out of their otherwise miserable lives, the party did not manage to put a brave, cheerful face, either.

The official MDC Zimbabwe Facebook page which is administered by Morgan Tsvangirai's "presidential" spokesperson and party director of communications, Luke Tamborinyoka, did not have anything on the party's 18th birth- day.

Luke's own Facebook page on September 11 had nothing on the anniversary but he posted a cryptic and silly sounding post that read "Command Stupidity".

Party spokesperson Obert Gutu on his regular two pages on Facebook, posted a rather poor graphic of the MDC logo inscribed, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MDC-T 11/09/99-11/09/2017".

The message attracted only 12 "Likes" on one page and 30 "Likes" and six comments on another.

There was nothing on secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora's social media.

Nelson Chamisa, the other vice president, wrote on Twitter and his Facebook feed:

"MDC @ 18 – the party of excellence attains the legal age of majority 2day having bn formed 11 sept 1999. 2018 is such a maturity test!"

It had 23 Facebook likes and three comments.

The party did not issue any anniversary statement and the party's website was mum.

For those interested in semiotics, it is quite clear that the MDC did not enjoy its birthday on Monday and its supporters were not too enthusiastic, either.

That means a lot of things.

The opposition party has stagnated.

Going into next year's election, such lack of enthusiasm betrays a party that is lacking in confidence and almost fatalistic.

It is largely held that the opposition will lose in next year's elections.

2018 will mark 19 years that Morgan Tsvangirai has been in charge of the party.

With the benefit of hindsight, one may see that Tsvangirai is the elephant in the room.

The 18 years that the MDC attained on Monday are 18 years of failure and it is the failure of Tsvangirai.

He has run three successive presidential attempts and failed on each score.

In a rather strange twist of fate, he is the party's strength and down- fall.

He has been described as the face of the opposition and the mill around its neck at the same time.

No doubt, this conflict played out in people's minds as the party turned its not so happy birthday on Monday.

- the herald

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

WATCH: Mnangagwa praises 'father of the nation' Mugabe

by AFP | 24 November 2017 | 263 Views

Chihuri booed at Mnangagwa inauguration

by Stephen Jakes | 24 November 2017 | 444 Views

At least 155 killed in mosque in Egypt

by Staff Reporter | 24 November 2017 | 90 Views

Zodwa Wabantu plans Zim tour post Mugabe resignation

by TshisaLIVE | 24 November 2017 | 267 Views

Mnangagwa to make job creation a priority

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 219 Views

Mnangagwa praises 'father of the nation' Mugabe

by AFP | 24 November 2017 | 143 Views

Mnangagwa calls for peaceful 2018 elections

by Staff Reporter | 24 November 2017 | 177 Views

'All foreign investments will be safe,' promises Mnangagwa

by Staff Reporter | 24 November 2017 | 150 Views

Mnangagwa to compensate white farmers

by Staff Reporter | 24 November 2017 | 215 Views

Man loses 3 teeth to wife

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 178 Views

'Grace Mugabe used me'

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 324 Views

Chimene makes u-turn, now supports Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 270 Views

Soldiers rescue Mphoko's Choppies

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 234 Views

Open letter to Mthwakazi.

by Kernan Mzelikahle | 24 November 2017 | 125 Views

The New Zimbabwean president faces high expectations. will he fulfil them?

by Dr Masimba Mavaza | 24 November 2017 | 118 Views

Mnangagwa sworn in as Zimbabwe President

by AFP | 24 November 2017 | 231 Views

Oscar Pistorius's murder sentence increased to 13 years

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 95 Views

Mnangagwa's poisoned chalice

by Crecey Kuyedzwa | 24 November 2017 | 176 Views

Shembe dies

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 129 Views

Mnangagwa inauguration programme

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 157 Views

Concern over Jonathan Moyo, Kasukuwere, Chombo security

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 268 Views

Mnangagwa's timeline

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 130 Views

The dramatic rise and fall of Grace Mugabe

by Christopher Farai Charamba | 24 November 2017 | 263 Views

Khama Billiat non-committal

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 91 Views

Kaindu returns to Zambia

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 107 Views

Mnangagwa takes oath of office today

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 133 Views

From Chairman Mao to Deng - from Mugabe to Mnangagwa

by Darlington Musarurwa | 24 November 2017 | 116 Views

Sodomy storm for policeman

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 94 Views

Mnangagwa assures Mugabe, family of maximum security

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 101 Views

Fissures in MDC Alliance over formation of Transitional govt

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 89 Views

Mugabe not invited to Mnangagwa inauguration

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 145 Views

Dabengwa offers to serve under Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 228 Views

'Jailing Mugabe would bring Zimbabwe bad luck'

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 61 Views

Soldiers torture Kasukuwere's maids

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 163 Views

Mugabe jumped before he was pushed

by Peter Fabricius | 24 November 2017 | 74 Views

Mnangagwa allies, army targeting families of Jonathan Moyo and Kasukuwere

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 219 Views

Tsvangirai to attend Mnangagwa inauguration

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 603 Views

Chiwenga challenged to clarify G40 arrests

by Staff reporter | 24 November 2017 | 205 Views