The joint independence me-ssage issued by MDC-T, NCA, Zapu and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn was a breath of fresh air to anxious Zimbabweans.
BY Pius Wakatama
It declared that the Zanu PF culture of “chefdom” had substituted the “baas” culture, which was the hallmark of the colonial administration and that Zimbabweans must be ready to fight President Robert Mugabe as they did the Rhodesians.
The statement, which was read by the MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora — as the group spokesman — said Mugabe’s government had replaced the colonial regime “lock stock and barrel”.
As Mwonzora spoke, he was flanked by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Mavambo/Kusi-le/Dawn’s Simba Makoni, Zapu spokesperson Njobisa Noko and NCA Information head Mardock Chivasa. He said; “The colonial political administration was replaced by an equally oppressive indigenous administration allergic to difference and freedom of thought.”
The words of the statement themselves were of no consequence at all since these are the same things our opposition political parties have been saying, ad nauseam, without any decisive action.
They were just like the windy words of President Mugabe who struts around the world talking about high ideals which he knows nothing about.
What is of consequence and indeed a miracle, for which we must thank God, is that these key opposition parties have finally seen the need for unity. Without this unity, the future of Zimbabwe is bleak indeed.
What was sad though, was the absence of the MDC Renewal. The other parties said they had invited them and tried their best to have them come to the press conference but they refused. This is understandable.
If I had been a leader of MDC Renewal, I also would not have gone to issue a joint statement together with MDC-T which had displayed so much hatred and malice towards them.
It had been so delightful, for me and many Zimbabweans, to watch the opposition in Parliament, especially as they stoically debated against the Debt Assumption Bill which seeks to force impoverished Zimbabweans to pay for properties and money looted by rich Zanu PF leaders.
Imagine the pain when that opposition was effectively removed by the MDC-T, which makes so much noise about being the leader among opposition parties. If the MDC Renewal had attended that joint press conference, they would have been telling Zimbabweans a lie because they are very bitter as they nurse their wounds. There is now a great chasm between them and the MDC-T.
Until that chasm is bridged, it will not be possible to forge any effective unity between the two opposition parties. This unity can only come about through concerted and genuine dialogue first, followed by real forgiving and forgetting.
Personally, I am opposed to Zanu PF and support all opposition parties working to change the government. My prayer is that they work together because divided as they are, they will never be able to bring justice, peace and prosperity to Zimbabwe. What is discouraging however is that when the opposition leaders were asked if their issuing of a joint statement was a step towards a political coalition ahead of the 2018 election, they were hesitant and claimed that they would work together “as and when the need arises.”
Simba Makoni said: “We will come together as and when it is necessary to do so while at the same time cognisant of the call from the people that there is need to work together. We are not blind to that need.”
What a bunch of losers! They don’t realise that the need for unity arose more than 30 years ago and that our throats are now hoarse from calling upon them to unite. They are, up to now, very blind to that need. Just as the MDC-T is talking about the need for unity, another split is staring it in the face.
After recalling 21 opposition Members of Parliament who left the party to form MDC Renewal, the party’s national council recently decided not to participate in the resultant by-elections. This did not go down well with some who felt that this was tantamount to handing those hard-won seats to Zanu PF on a silver platter.
Vice-President Thokozani Khupe is said to be one of those determined to see that those seats are contested for. It is said that there is a hidden agenda and the whole thing is part of wider personal power struggles within the party.
Asked to comment on this impending split in the MDC-T, spokesperson Obert Gutu said; “There is an impending food crisis in most parts of the country and it is our pre-occupation as the leadership of the biggest and most popular political party in Zimbabwe, to address these national concerns rather than dwelling on fictional and non-existent power struggles within the party”.
Is Gutu hallucinating that he is now the minister of Food Resources in a government run by this “biggest and most popular party in Zimbabwe?” Otherwise, how is he going to tackle these national issues when his party does not even have a voice in Parliament?
Someone needs to tell Gutu that in order to address national issues one needs to have political power first — which he does not have.
Zanu PF leaders who were unceremoniously kicked out of their party for supporting Vice-President Joice Mujuru are working hard on forming a new political party or coalition to challenge their former comrades. Their new organisation — whose slogan is People First — is working hard to be accepted by Zimbabweans as a genuine opposition party.
Rugare Gumbo — spokesperson of the group — said they accepted responsibility for some of the actions of Zanu PF which were now hurting the nation and were ready to work with all democratic forces for a better Zimbabwe. “Yes, we have contributed to some of the things but we are ready to correct that,” Gumbo said.
Zimbabweans are divided on whether to accept or reject the repentance of this group. Some say their repentance is not genuine and they should, therefore, never be forgiven and accepted as part of the opposition.
They say that former Zanu PF Secretary for Adminstration Didymus Mutasa and company were persecuting the opposition and benefitting from the looting by Zanu PF until they fell out of favour with Mugabe. They are acting to secure their now uncertain futures.
Others said their apologies must be taken at face value and accepted, especially by those who believe in the Christian teaching of forgiveness. As a Christian, I tend to take the later position of forgiving and forgetting. However, these former oppressors must show their remorse by their actions from now on. And if in the future, it is discovered that they are guilty of any crimes, then the law must take its course.
The more I look at the state of the opposition in Zimbabwe, the more I am convinced that our career politicians can never be weaned from their desire for power to the extent that they can forge a united front strong enough to dislodge Zanu PF and establish a democratic government.
So far, the best chance that Zimbabweans have to free themselves from Zanu PF hegemony is by disregarding career politicians and support the National Convergence Platform which seeks to gather at a convention — concerned Zimbabweans from all sectors — to dialogue and work out their own salvation.
Bishop Bakare — who leads the convergence — is a proven man of God who has no history of political ambition or aspirations. When the Anglican church was under attack he was recalled from retirement to successfully fight off Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to take over the Church. He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.