After Tsvangirai: Chaos and the inherited contradictions

Richard Mahomva
In the same manner, Tsvangirai could not give up power even in the most chronic state of his health. This proves that the MDC-T has survived under autocratic terms of power with Tsvangirai being the party’s unquestionable central figure of power.

In the selective desertion of the truth, MDC seems to have rose as an innocent political alternative to the dominance of nationalism.

True to its misleading existentiality, MDC in its various factions has earned relevance as a redemptive option to the one-party state politics which defined Zimbabwe in the first decade of our independence.

In some quotas, Tsvangirai has been revered as a founding cornerstone of Zimbabwean pluralism and democracy – without whom there would be no democracy in Zimbabwe.

In last week’s article, I discussed how Tsvangirai’s acclaimed inclinations to “democracy” had no empirical connection to the founding principle of our struggle.

His character as a democrat is worth less praise compared to particular political icons, especially the country’s founding nationalists like Father Zimbabwe, General Tongogara, Herbert Chitepo, Ziyaphapha-Moyo.

Unlike Tsvangirai, these had a clearly defined line of defending the true liberation of the African populace.

Tsvangirai’s proposition of democracy was centred on popularising the vanguard of coloniality which was alienated by the “Third-Chimurenga”.

Therefore, the rise of the MDC in 1999 was not solely inclined to advancing an alternative to political repression that Zimbabwe is said to have suffered since 1980.

MDC stands as a resistant symbol of the nationalist agenda and that constitutes the mega contradiction of the party’s claim to democracy in Zimbabwe.

Though Zimbabweans across the political divide paid their last respects to Cde Morgan Tsvangirai, it must be clarified that Tsvangirai’s association with democracy must be approached with hesitancy.

Moreover, anecdotal to depict him as the only prominent forerunner of pluralism in Zimbabwe.

The late Edgar Tekere is another opposition leader who challenged the Mugabe rule.

Therefore, it is a crime to truth to limit the memory of pluralism to the late Tsvangirai.

History and the ideological paradox burden

As also highlighted in last week’s article, Tsvangirai’s legacy as a trade-unionist cannot be evaluated in isolation of the broader trade-unionist tradition of Zimbabwe.

One of the realities contesting his legacy fallacy in this respect derives from the role played by anti-colonial trade unionists.

Their role in the fight against colonial capitalism dating back as far as 1920 right up to the maturation stage of African resistance in the late 1940s is still unparalleled.

MDC’s misleading manipulation of the democracy and human-rights rhetoric in defence of White land ownership further substantiates the party’s link to trade-unionism as vulgarity to the dignity of Africans to embrace a status of being mere “workers”.

Therefore, the claim by Tsvangirai’s MDC to be a “workers party” broadly articulates the opposition’s determination to cultivate a culture of black subjugation.

The same culture which has blatantly dignified the sub-humanity of Africans as a race of workers – people with no capacity to control the means of production, with no command of their destiny, but are mere owners of labour.

This further probes MDC’s self-preservation as a cornerstone of trade-unionism and democracy considering its founding objective to reverse the gains of the land reform.

Ideally, liberating land ownership was going to widely cascade to other sectors of the economy and help in deconstructing the idolisation of Africans’ exploitative statuses to White capital.

Consequently, MDC in its current coalesced formation and in its possible renewal or break-ups will perpetuate its paradoxical claim to defending democracy and the “working class” – particularly on the basis of securing interests of neo-liberal capital against the common principles of the majority, a fair share to their economic birth-right.

The massive state of public awareness of this is one of the major reasons why the MDC-coalition will not win the 2018 elections – not withstanding its unpreparedness to kick start its campaign.

It is even irrational for one to assume that the handful which attended Chamisa’s rallies outside Harvest House is a sample of the election outcome.

What of the multitudes who thronged the National Sport Stadium for President Mnangagwa’s inauguration?

I am certain that a greater part of the Harvest House crowd was mainly people from Harare. Zimbabweans in Mutoko, Chipinge, Chivhu, Zvimba, Nkayi, Rusape, Chimanimani and Binga know Tsvangirai as a solicitor of infamous economic sanctions.

It is known that he took this route to gratify his ambitions to usurp power.

Indeed many attended his funeral, mourned with the MDC family on social media, but that does not mean that Zimbabweans have forgot the sanctions as a heinous route taken by Tsvangirai to assert his democratic right to be an opposition leader.

The characteristics of ambition and narcissism in his leadership approach is also substantiated by his firm hold to power even at a time his health was no longer permitting.

To this end, he is said to have appointed Nelson Chamisa to lead the MDC-Alliance, at the same time appointing Engineer Elias Mudzuru as the acting president of the party.

Wither democracy?

The starting point of this critical evaluation of the leadership crisis manifesting after Tsvangirai’s departure is the party’s contested succession.

When Tsvangirai left for South Africa, Eng Mudzuru was appointed as the party’s acting president by ailing Tsvangirai.

As Tsvangirai’s condition deteriorated, we are told Mudzuri was right there next to his boss thinking that he was the “anointed” one.

After the passing-on of Tsvangirai at the climax of the succession battle between him (Mudzuru) and Chamisa, Mudzuri was quick to raise the “loyalty card” as one who was with Tsvangirai to the end.

Tsvangirai’s family also backed Mudzuri as he temporarily became Tsvangirai’s death-bed correspondent.

On the other hand, Chamisa was winning the party’s structures to his favour before he could pronounce himself as the party’s acting president – and thus the smart ouster of Mudzuri.

In no time after Tsvangirai’s death, Chamisa’s acting presidency was endorsed by the party’s highest decision making council.

To this day, the legality of Chamisa’s role as acting president is still questioned.

It is now clear that Dr Thokozane Khuphe is Nelson Chamisa’s high potential factional wrestler if this matter is not resolved according to the MDC constitutionally premised prescription of succession.

Narcissism and the crisis of legitimacy

Narcissism has always defined the character of MDC and is the major cause for factionalism in the MDC-T.

Tsvangirai the “democrat”, as he is popularised, failed to create a smooth transition within the MDC-T.

Instead, he chose to call the shots from his death-bed.

Mudzuri was a dormant acting president and he drew his legitimacy from his proximity to Tsvangirai in his last days.

Thokozani Khuphe, on the other hand, was quick to publicise her direct involvement in repatriating Tsvangirai’s body home.

As one could intimately read into her communication, it was clear that this was her way of gaining relevance.

Her efforts were only edged on expedience and not any moral obligation to give dignity to her late boss.

However, young Chamisa’s determination to lead the party seems to have been drawn from a blessing he secretly got from the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

This has since been confirmed by Welshman Ncube who claims that Tsvangirai confided in him that he wanted Chamisa to lead the MDC-Alliance in the event that his health failed him.

On this account, one can conclude that the opposition’s clear objective has been to assume power even if it meant subjecting the nation to international sanctions.

In the same manner, Tsvangirai could not give up power even in the most chronic state of his health.

This proves that the MDC-T has survived under autocratic terms of power with Tsvangirai being the party’s unquestionable central figure of power.

This explains the current individualist centred terms of the leadership crisis in MDC-T which is a defining premise of the leadership style MDC inherited from Morgan Tsvangirai.

The forthcoming 2018 election

Chamisa has manipulated the party’s structures in favour of his personal interests.

As it is, the MDC-T still has no defined direction in articulating issues of national interests ahead of the 2018 polls.

After all, the “Mugabe Must Go” monologue has expired.

Moreover, if Chamisa makes it out of his current dilemma, he still has a bigger fight with Zanu-PF.

It is easy to take power away from a dying man but very tough to do so from a man who is a hero to many.

It is prudent at this time to ask; will MDC-T rise again if it falls now?

 

Richard Mahomva is an independent researcher and a literature aficionado interested in the architecture of governance in Africa and political theory. Feedback: [email protected]

 

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  • Doppelganger

    very convoluted and unnecessarily verbose. If only it was in the service of real ideas, manje dololo.