Zanu is wasted but MDC-T is no alternative

To push Robert Mugabe into another term in office beyond his current tenure would be punishment, self-imposed or otherwise. There is basically nothing new Zimbabwe can expect him to offer. It would be ingratitude of the worst kind for his party to even propose his name for the position of president of the party or country. The man has played his role and now deserves retirement.

Laiton Kandawire
Laiton Kandawire

With recent media reports, one wonders which of the potential pretenders to the throne will be spared if a proper clean-up, as expected, were to be implemented. With this perspective in mind, we can appreciate vice-president Joice Mujuru’s recent reported remarks on the media’s onslaught on corruption.

The onslaught could be very damaging; leaving Zanu (PF) without a viable replacement for Mugabe. It could also close the doors to funding and the conduits for that funding. With trusted lieutenants out of the way, new recruits might not perform to expectation. It’s clear to see why this exposé might have far-reaching implications for the ruling party if not properly managed.

A closer analysis will reveal that it is not only Mugabe who is beyond retirement age. Most of his close associates should actually have followed Nathan Shamuyarira’s lead and retired from active politics years ago. Their continued occupation of strategic positions, their non-performance and the palpable corruption under their watch will all come back to haunt Zanu (PF) in 2018.

In light of what is happening in both the party and the government, one would have expected a viable opposition to take advantage and champion, or at least appear to be, championing the people’s cause. But, alas, there is no viable opposition in Zimbabwean politics post July 31, 2013.

That landslide defeat, Nikuv-inspired or not, must have stunned the entire opposition and their sponsors, leaving them to lick their wounds. In other circumstances, that defeat should have angered the losers, made them more vigilant and, more importantly, should have brought them together. Instead, suspicion crept in.

Zanu (PF), not content with the mere defeat of the MDC-T, and probably aiming for total annihilation, went for its leadership, sowing seeds of discontent, discrediting it and dividing it even further. In no time, the already compromised Morgan Tsvangirai was besieged with marital issues that ended in Zanu (PF) strategist, Jonathan Moyo, urging him to offer a “state of his bedroom address” instead of a state of the nation address. That is damaging, even to a thick-skinned man.

With his marriage troubles playing into the Zanu (PF) choreography, his unfortunate valuing of tea-times with Mugabe instead of attending to pertinent issues during the GNU’s tenure and his alleged abuse of party funds all coming to the fore at a crucial time, it would be deleterious political naivety to claim that Morgan Tsvangirai is not compromised as a party leader. This is not to say that he cannot lead his party; the challenge is whether he can lead his party to victory over Zanu (PF).

My contention is that, as presently constituted, the MDC-T leadership cannot even pose a lame threat to Zanu (PF), necessitating an elective congress prior to the set 2016 date to sort out this mess. 2016 is too late, seeing the way the party has allowed itself to be divided.

If a decision to retain Tsvangirai as president of the party is adopted, it should then be supported fully by all members. If it is decided that he be replaced, then the new leader needs time to meet the grassroots and stamp his authority on a party that is proving to be difficult to control. Either way, the decision must be taken earlier than 2016. If a breakaway faction is to emerge, let it emerge sooner rather than later.

Beyond 2016, the situation will have changed dramatically. The time to prepare and make headway is now. 2018, without Mugabe, is a different ballgame and only the prepared will profit from it. 2018 with an even older Mugabe still offers a good chance to the prepared. So, go ahead and prepare.

Post published in: Analysis
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