MDC-T needs to change

The days of pragmatic politics are here. It is time for the MDC-T to shed its civil society mentality and transform itself into a pragmatic and mature political formation.

Tawanda Majoni
Tawanda Majoni

The latest developments indicate the urgency of such a change in order for the party to develop sufficient political muscle to tackle the next five years against a tough opponent like Zanu (PF).

While the MDC-T has its roots in civil society where pressure, rhetoric and advocacy define core operations, the time has come for the party to devise and implement strategies and policies that refine its status as a viable political alternative.

I became extremely uneasy, to the extent of being irritated, when I learnt that the party had resolved to boycott the recent official opening of Parliament.

“Party” here is of course a mere reference to the elite decision-making band at the top. I know this because one of their MPs told me on the day of the official opening that he was disgusted at the fact that the leadership had imposed the boycott on them.

He agreed with me that it did not make sense to boycott the ceremony. The same MP later concurred that it was also in vain to keep them from discussing the presidential speech at the official opening, for the reasons outlined below.

From the onset, MDC-T has had every justification to express its reservations over the manner in which the July 31 polls were conducted. I would be among the first to cast a stone and accuse Zanu (PF) and its myriad shadowy partners of cheating.

However, boycotting the official opening of Parliament is a misplaced way of doing so, because it is full of contradictions and inconsistencies.

The MDC-T boycott and the subsequent gagging of its MPs from discussing the presidential speech reduced the whole thing to a crusade against one person, President Robert Mugabe. It ignores the fact that the Old Man is not alone in this game. It fails to appreciate the fact that Mugabe could just as well be a captive player in the game.

If MDC-T is protesting the flawed electoral process, it should not limit its fight to one person. Surely, we now know that Mugabe was not alone in those ballot-fixing shenanigans. The army, police and central intelligence, fronted by the Joint Operations Command, were there. The RG’s office and ZEC were there, and so was Nikuv. Some of the individuals now sitting in Parliament, were there too.

Quite certainly, the judiciary, by reserving judgement indefinitely in that urgent application in which MDC-T wanted ZEC to provide information as the party petitioned against the poll results, was equally culpable. It took a whole team to tango, so Mugabe cannot and must not be the only target.

Reducing everything to Mugabe, as MDC-T is doing, is a limping exercise in futility. If it is so seized with boycotting, why not completely withdraw from the Lower House and Senate. It was Mugabe who legitimized them, after all. There is no way in which the party would still go to the courts and have its members go to Makombe Building for birth and marriage certificates without involving itself in a fatal contradiction, because they are units under a government that Mugabe has just installed.

In other words, MDC-T must boycott all government processes and arms if it is sincere about boycotting. I know that, very soon, MDC-T MPs and senators will participate in legislative processes as though nothing ever happened. We have seen this happen in the past. That participation will involve, inevitably, engaging in debates around the cabinet that was formed by Mugabe.

Would that mean the season of boycotting would have ended? Why stop at that stage?

My point is: MDC-T should grow up and smell the coffee if it still wants the electorate to take it seriously. The days of empty activism are over, and the days of pragmatic politics are here. – For feedback, please write to [email protected]

Post published in: Analysis

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