the tribal politics’
BY STANFORD MUKASA
The 15,000 delegates who descended on
The decisions taken at this congress were a believable referendum. Delegates came on their own accord and there are no reports of coercion or rigging of the votes. They came in their thousands. In contrast, the splinter group managed to draw about 3,000 delegates. Zanu (PF)’s congress in Esigodini in December attracted about 5,000.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku, said the faction or group that attracted the most delegates had the right to claim the name MDC. This is the majoritarian principle of democracy, namely, when opinion is divided in a democracy then the majority opinion wins the day. If the number of delegates at all three congresses represented votes in an election, the Tsvangirai-led MDC would have been a winner, attracting more delegates than both Zanu (PF) and the Mutambara-Ncube splinter group combined.
It is an indicator of how Zimbabweans are likely to vote in future elections. And this must worry the proponents of the plan for a government of national unity, such as Thabo Mbeki. It had been hoped that if the Mutambara-Welshman Ncube group could be persuaded to come into a coalition with moderate elements of Zanu (PF) to form a government of national unity, there was a good chance the Zanu candidate would win elections.
Had Tsvangirai either stepped down or been removed before October 12 last year, the question of participating in the senate elections, or boycotting them altogether, would not have been a major policy issue for the MDC. MDC had boycotted participation in elections before without causing the kind of commotion and strained political relations that characterized the post-October 12 national council deliberations.
The plan for a government of national unity will now be very difficult to sell internationally unless Tsvangirai is involved. The
There is, therefore, likely to be a new agenda in which the idea of a government of national unity will still be proposed but will be expanded to include the Tsvangirai-led MDC, now that Tsvangirai has demonstrated decisively that he commands an overwhelming support from the majority of Zimbabweans.
Whatever the outcome of legal efforts to resolve the MDC name issue, the congress delegates set an unmistakable national agenda that specifically focuses on identifying Mugabe and Zanu (PF) as the enemy and working out a strategy to confront him. The delegates to the congress did not make a big deal of the split in the MDC, or the tribal politics that have become the context in which the split is being debated.
The message to Zimbabweans could not have been clearer: namely that opposition politics in