The MDC family celebrated 14 years of existence yesterday in Mutare. The people of Zimbabwe had anticipated that such celebrations would be held with the MDC already 40 plus days in government.
Sunday View with Donald Zhou
The gains that were accomplished during the inclusive government days in stabilising the economy had given people hope. All the gains were credited to the MDC.
In the people’s minds, if MDC had brought this by working in such a difficult working environment, what more could the party do when they were in complete control. All the hopes evaporated in the aftermath of the July 31 elections.
The MDC needs to sit down and critically reflect on what went wrong. I think the MDC went into elections unprepared unlike in 2008. Since 2010, Zanu PF has been in the election mood, making pronouncements that there would be elections.
I think the department of Information and Publicity and the Organising Department of the MDC could have done a better job.
The Information department has never been as vibrant as it was prior to 2008 under Nelson Chamisa. Party positions are now being communicated as opinions on Facebook pages and surely this should not be the case.
Prior to 2008, with Elias Mudzuri as Organising Secretary, we saw the campaigns being properly organised. High-profile members of the party were delegated to provinces well before the elections, and they literally camped in those provinces.
This time around everyone just looked to be at the rally at which Tsvangirai would address. It must be noted that Tsvangirai cannot be everywhere and at most, he can only visit each and every constituency.
It was supposed to be the duty of the Organising Secretary to deploy members to the provinces especially the problematic ones. This time around the campaigning was relegated to Tsvangirai and Thokozani Khupe who was mostly in Matabeleland.
One would have wondered where the other high-ranking officials were and if they were campaigning. Why is it that the Information Department was not relaying the information to the general populace?
The problems that seem to have crippled the party going into the elections was the fact that some leaders were already smelling victory and were now plotting and building their power bases.
The reports of imposition of candidates can be viewed along these lines. By imposing candidates, popular ones were left out, when it was clear that every vote was needed to counter Zanu PF.
The so-called coalitions were also not properly worked out, for example, Simba Makoni was only appearing on MDC rallies, as if he had become part of the party officials.
Why is it that he was not holding his own rallies urging his supporters to vote for the MDC? He was simply coming to the converted by addressing MDC rallies and therefore the coalition did not bring any value.
Coalitions need to be built in situations where the partner brings his supporters, but in this case the partners were not bringing the much-needed votes and there was no evidence to the contrary. In 2008, Makoni used to go around the country mobilising his supporters and one wonders why he never did that this time around.
This could explain why there were some misgivings by the party leaders in Manicaland.
The party seems to have perfectly relegated some proven cadres who used to work hard without any resources to the periphery.
As the party celebrates 14 years, it is my hope that the party leaders will take stock of what they could have done better.
There is need to revive the spirit of 2000, so that the people are re-energised and begin to trust the movement. There is need for collective consultations and decisions.