Is MDC losing focus?

mdc_symbolHARARE - There are increasing concerns that the new members of Government of National Unity (GNU) have become comfortable with their new found positions in Government - forgetting their mandate of transforming Zimbabwe into a democratic state.

Eighteen months since the formation of the GNU, hope is evaporating as Zimbabweans become accustomed to what has been described as the new normal. Many say there is no difference between new government officials from the MDC and those from Zanu (PF).

Continuing greed, corruption and callousness among government officials is cause for deep concern. Critics believe the new players have become more focused on politics as a “profession” or “station with perks” – rather than focusing on objectives such as good governance and a transformation of the countrys policies.

To some extent we have this new equilibrium, said Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Secretary General, Wellington Chibhebhe. When they got into government they were falling over each other to get cars and perks. They fitted well into existing conditions of service, power game and culture of chiefdom.

The MDC has been criticised for concentrating on wresting power from Zanu (PF) rather than reforming institutions of governance. For example, some say the MDC has put all its energies into firing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, rather than concentrating on democratising the institutions behind these names.

University of Zimbabwe Economics Professor, Tony Hawkins, said he was not surprised by the current status quo.

People in this country get into politics to make money – unfortunately there is no professionalism in politics, said Hawkins.

Bulawayo-based businessman, Eric Bloch said the MDC had done quite a lot in 2009 to restore confidence in the country, but these gains were being eroded by events of 2010.

We saw a number of positive changes in 2009 when the MDC joined government, but these are being eroded by the controversial indigenisation law as well as the continued attacks on the west by Zanu (PF) officials, said Bloc. Its a matter of Zanu (PF) not prepared to do away with its old and retrogressive policies forcing the MDC to compromise.

Zanu (PF) chief whip, Jorum Gumbo, said (without answering the question): The MDC and Zanu (PF) are in the same government, its one government which makes the same decision so why should you want to separate them?

But the MDC spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo argued that the comparison was unfair. There is no way you can compare us with Zanu (PF). We are different, we might be in an inclusive government but the similarities stop there, she said.

The leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), Simba Makoni, said the two parties were sides of the same coin. Its the continuation of the gravy train. Some of us now call it the MDC PF and the only way to stop these trends is to have a new election, said Makoni.

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