Unpacking the Ideological and Tactical Differences between Labour and Zinasu in the MDC Alliance: Part One (1)

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Analysis by Dr Tapiwa Maji-Marefu Mashakada

The differences between the Zinasu (student movement) element in the MDC Alliance on the one hand, and the Labour Caucus (Trade Unionists), veterans and founders of the MDC, two thirds of MPs and the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai family on the other, has now played out to be a difference of tactics, strategy and ideology on how to carry forward the legacy of our late iconic leader, veteran trade unionist and founder of MDC, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

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At the core of these differences is the question of:

(1) Respecting the MDC Constitution which we have been using (because the MDC Alliance does not have a Constitution). This issue is about respecting the internal democratic processes of decision making by relevant party organs.

(2) The second point of departure with the Zinasu element is the question of respecting the rule of law and complying with Court decisions.

(3) The third major difference is with regard to the role of the G-40 element of Zanu PF, pre and post elections

(4) The fourth point of departure relates to lack of accountability and financial reporting.

(5) The fifth point relates to the question of how to dislodge Zanu PF and deliver a new Zimbabwe.

(6) The fifth issue is the role of MDC founders, veterans and whether or not the MDC was still a labour backed party.

These are just some of the key strategic and ideological issues that have been simmering for many years. I will attempt to unpack each one of them systematically.

1. Respecting the Constitution and following internal democratic procedures:-

With hindsight, after the demise of Tsvangirai, it is not a secret that I was one of the people who supported Adv Chamisa to grab power. I believed he was our best foot forward and I did many opinion pieces supporting his political ascendancy as a young and vibrant leader. But we made a fatal error of not calling an extra-ordinary Congress to regularize the populist takeover. We therefore did not follow our own internal procedures as provided for by our own Constitution Another example is the most recent decision to disengage Parliament which was taken without the approval of the National Executive and National Council. The decision to withdraw MPs was not a National Council decision hence it was null and void. And for that reason I and the Labour Caucus challenged it. I was called a rebel and sell-out for disagreeing with an unconstitutional decision. In Zimbabwe, the term sell-out is grossly abused. It is now being weaponized to label and condemn people holding different political views. It’s actually a Stalinist term used by revolutionaries to villify other dissenting voices. Now the MDC Alliance is now mimicking Stalinists as if it was a Revolutionary Party. I can go on and on to give examples of the violation of the Constitution and other internal democratic procedures

2. Disregard of the Rule of Law and Selective acceptance of Court Judgements-

The MDC Alliance has purported to fight for justice, rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy. But the faction has refused to comply with key Court decisions, namely the Constitutional Court decision of 2018 and the Supreme Court decision of March 2020. Yes, it is one thing to criticize court decisions and another to disrespect them. For the record, I have criticized both Court verdicts but I think it’s wrong to disobey court rulings. It doesn’t bode well for a democratic movement which accuses Zanu PF of not respecting the rule of law. In my recommendations I advocated for MDC Alliance to follow the Supreme Court decision and go to the extra-ordinary Congress. This is the best decision which unites the MDC. After all, the Alliance itself was conceived as a call for the big tent by Morgan Tsvangirai. The Alliance had 7 parties including some names I had never heard before. So why would it be difficult for the MDC Alliance to converge at the extra ordinary Congress?

(3). Role of the G-40-

The G-40 element was not part of the Alliance. However, they played a big role in the funding of the elections. They bank rolled the elections for which we are very grateful. However, many MDC supporters are complaining that they needed time to heal from the wounds afflicted by Zanu PF. Most MDC members were not happy with the elevation of G-40 members into top positions at provincial and national levels. Moreover, the membership wanted an open and transparent relationship which is not nicodemous or sub-terranian. I personally think the G-40 people should negotiate as an institution and not allow their individuals to capture the MDC Alliance leadership and secretly bankroll MDC Alliance operations without the knowledge of party organs. The G-40 issue has become very divisive because of financial transparency deficits.

4. Financial impropriety

One of the most disturbing things is the lack of financial systems to ensure the proper and accountable use of resources especially the govt grant. I am not concerned about the donor funds or private moneys we get from time to time because we have to protect our sources. But the gvt grant is the taxpayers money and its use must be transparent. Allegations that ZW$2 million went missing are serious allegations which have not be discussed by leadership or refuted in a meeting. The truth of the matter is that there is no audit trail of where that money went. These are things which make some of us loose confidence. We must set a good example and not replicate the corruption we are fighting. The money from our diaspora structures is going into the pocket of individual leaders and not the coffers of the party. Anyone who expects me to shut up should have his head examined.

5. Fighting Zanu PF

The best way of fighting Zanu PF is to protect the vote. This is where we have lost the plot. Opportunities have presented themselves but we have not seized the moments to defend our vote. In the absence of a revolution we ought to look into the eyes of Zanu PF and drag them kicking and screeming to the negotiating table. It does not help our cause to duck and dive when Zanu PF says let’s talk. Even those fighting in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have time to meet and negotiate. The MDC Alliance has never given dialogue a chance. Negotiations must be driven by a national convergence agenda based on the following:

(a) The peace and Security conondrum to ensure there is change with stability

(b) Economic Stimulus package to end the economic meltdown

(c) Governance and Reforms to guarantee free and fair elections in 2023.

(d) International re-engagement and

(e) National Healing, Transitional justice, truth and reconciliation.

(f) A credible arbitor.

The venue of talks is not an issue worth the break down of talks. This is where I have differed with my colleagues. The economy is burning and political and the security situation is deteriorating while politicians are sitting in comfort. We drive expensive vehicles and sit in air-conditioned offices while citizens are languishing in abject poverty. Leaders must have people at heart. In 2008,Tsvangirai said he did not want to go to State House over dead bodies. Zanu PF and the opposition must shape up or ship out

6. The other point of departure is the relegation of founding members and veterans. Clearly, founders of the MDC are being slowly purged out of the movement they formed. MDC Alliance is no longer a labour backed party even by any stretch of imagination. The Zinasu dominated leadership has dumped its mother, the ZCTU and broken the umbilical cord. The departure of decorated founding trade unionists like James Makore who was the ZCTU Organising Secretary when we formed the ZCTU is a big blow. The departure of Cephas Makuyana a veteran Trade Unionist who was the Chairperson of the ZCTU Harare region when we formed the party is another blow. Makuyana and myself helped establish MDC structures in Harare, Norton, Ruwa and Chitungwiza in 1999. Makuyana was the director of ceremonies at the launch of the MDC in September 1999 at Rufaro Stadium. Paurina Mpariwa was the leader of the ZCTU Women’s Council and founder member of the MDC. She has also been pushed out by the cabal surrounding Nelson Chamisa. Morgan Komichi was the ZCTU Chairman in Matebeleland North and a founder member of the MDC. Thokozani Khupe is a founder member of the MDC She hails from the Zimbabwe Almagamated Workers Union(Zaru). Douglas Mwonzora was the ZCTU Legal Research Officer whilst I was the ZCTU Economic Advisor. The MDC Alliance has now morphed into a totally new outfit and has been hijacked by the Student Movement and lawyers. Yet it is us in the labour movement who invited the Zinasu students to MDC.

People like Pedzisai Ruhanya have never been anywhere near the MDC. They are just armchair critics and pseudo intellectuals. Contrary to the falsehoods penned by Ruhanya on Twitter, for the record, I have never been Zanu PF or a student activist. My record at the University of Zimbabwe is open for anyone to see. People like Ruhanya are just large mouthed and they do not know anything about the MDC and it’s foundation. In one of his Tweets he lied with a straight face that the Hatfield MP now lives in Sweden. When I talk about the cabal I will be referring to Ruhanya, Hwende and the list is growing. And no amount of propaganda will silence me.

The ordinary grassroots activist or supporter does not know that the engine of the bus has been replaced. All they can see is the bus. They do not even see the new colour of the bus.

The cabal’ s attempt to explain my departure by condemning and labelling me is a pathetic exercise in futility. The cabal cannot even own its rebuttal of my reasons of departure. They first signed off their statement on my departure first as ” concerned citizen” before they edited it and signed it as ” MDC Alliance”.

Putting Zimbabwe First

I am a patriot and a Pan-Africanist. I have sacrificed 20 years of my life fighting a bad and corrupt system. Its high time Zimbabweans unite to form one big united front to confront the regime and call for national dialogue based on a defined agenda. Already on the table is the issue of the National Transitional Authority. Let us debate it and agree to differ rather than dismiss it apriori.

Zanu PF must take responsibility for destroying the economy and plunging the country into a political crisis for nearly 2 decades all because of the love for power. The brutality and torture of opposition activists must stop and the closed democratic space must be opened. Sanctions must be removed but Zanu PF must help out by reforming and avoiding acts of ommission and commissions that invite sanctions. Corruption is a cancer in the society and Zanu PF must clean itself up.

Going forward Zimbabweans must embrace what is good for Zimbabwe and condemn anything that does not move Zimbabwe forward. The National agenda cannot just be either a Zanu PF or MDC affair. National affairs must not be reduced to black and white.

Zikomo. Tatenda. Thank You. Twalumba. Siyabonga. Hikesile. Merci beau coup

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