Zimbabweans in SA and the world at large stand capitivated at the political drama that unfolds at Harvest House, over Tsvangirai’s succession, which seems to have sucked in the ailing leader’s family, below is an article analysing the situation.
DISCLAIMER: This article does not reflect this website’s editorial policy or that of its staff but is the writer’s individual opinion.
By Tinashe Muzamhindo
10 February 2018 – THE current political dynamics of the main opposition MDC T favours Chamisa to be the front runner and Tsvangirai’s successor. Generally on the ground you can easily tell that people have already made up their minds and they are warming up to the idea of having Chamisa on the top. The young man played his cards close to his chest, he is very strategic, off course with some contributing factors, but the main contributing factor is the issue of “political clout that Advocate Chamisa has in his political career. This is not an overnight decision, this is where Khupe, Mudzuri group are getting it lost, people made political judgements long back, and this process is just shaping up.
When the SA coalition talks were proposed, Mudzuri, Khupe and Mwonzora were supposed to make careful political moves, and avoid careless response to the media. This is where they all got it wrong. The three to me lack good and passive political judgement. Knowing very well that the MDC constitution does not allow anyone to attend coalition and alliance initiatives without the blessings of the party national council and executives which seats between congresses. Again the timing was wrong, how can you make such moves when everyone is carefully opening his eyes? My simple question why then did they travel to SA?
This is an own goal already. They made wrong moves, of which Chamisa had already calculated and he waited for his enemies to fall in that pit. The other issue is Gutu’s tweets also contributed as well. If you look at the recently Mudzuri twitter account you can easily tell that it is not his language, but it is Mwonzora, normally Mwonzora signs at the end “victory is certain”. It is an own goal.
They pressed the panic button which led to Chamisa’s group to defend themselves. Coming to Khupe, who has been riding on Tsvangirai’s brand, to me she made wrong political judgements, because why Khupe did chose to attend SA trips, and abandoning party crucial meetings and how does she expect people to judge her? One decides to abandon the ship at the last minute and decide to go for other meetings which are controversial? By the time Mwonzora tried to control the political damage it was too late because almost all the structures questioned their political motives behind that clandestine meetings.
GROOMING TOOK PLACE LONG BACK
I don’t know why the other group and the general people are failing to read between the lines. Tsvangirai groomed Chamisa long back. I will give you few examples that will point clearly to that effect. When Tsvangirai left for Kenya with his deputy, Tsvangirai seconded Chamisa to accompany him leaving the other two, if you remember very well, crucial meetings were held between Tsvangirai and Odinga, the former Prime Minister of Kenya. I would like to believe one of the agenda was the succession issue in the MDC. I easily picked that from my own psychological point of view, when they came back you would see that Chamisa was almost performing Tsvangirai’s duties. Chamisa was chairing all alliance meetings. This is a clear way of telling people that this young man is my successor. You see Morgan could not easily announce that Chamisa will be my successor; this was going to back fire, so he did it strategically for people to make their own interpretations. If you go through the alliance document it is clear that in the absence of Tsvangirai as the candidate for alliance business meetings, Chamisa from the MDC T will act on his behalf. So what does this mean to you? Chamisa took advantage of the grassroots connectivity meetings which Tsvangirai held in 2017, and he accompanied him, this is where Khupe lost it because they should have done the same. Chamisa has proved that he can easily go to the ground; people don’t want smart and bedroom politics of just making press statements in well ventilated offices. Tsvangirai has won many hearts because of grass roots connection. You need that touch.
NATURALLY PEOPLE WANT TO DO AWAY WITH OLD GUARD
You see it is unfortunate that Mudzuri faction was caught up in a political web. The current political scenario does not favour elderly people. For now people want to make changes drastically. Zimbabweans are bracing for young leadership. Chamisa has what it takes to be a young and dynamic leader. Generally Mudzuri is quiet, he is not vocal, he is level headed, and by virtue of him lacking the political clout, people may view him as an enemy of the struggle. If you remember very well, Mudzuri once wrote a damning letter to his boss citing some grey areas which led to the loss of the party after 2013 elections, and this didn’t go down well with MDC structures as well.
CHAMISA RECEIVES BACKING OF KEY ORGANS
When one is making political judgements, you must be careful before you sink into oblivion. To me I think, Chamisa was very strategic. For you to win in such a scenario you simply need, the youth assembly, women assembly, organizing and provincial chairs, apparently all these top organs are on his side. With statements being released from the party organs you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that the Mudzuri faction has dismally lost this game. You can’t fight these organs and win; it’s difficult so they are already out. They are different organizations which have thrown their weight behind the young politician and this makes sound and strategic impact on the near future events.
I DON’T THINK THEY WILL BE A SPLIT
People have learnt their lessons before, that following disgruntlement elements will throw you into the political dustbin. If you check very well when Chamisa called for a parliamentary caucus at Harvest House almost all MPs attended even provincial assemblies came for the meetings, remember we are going towards elections and no one would want to make a wrong move, so most people have already made up their minds. It is high likely that Mudzuri faction will simply leave with few people. Majority of MDC supporters have learnt their lessons that splits won’t work, if you are to remain relevant you have to remain with Tsvangirai brand.
DESPERATION DOESN’T WORK IN POLITICS
To me I don’t see anything wrong with Chamisa acting as the President of the party. What is the noise all about? Is this noise coming from the MDC T or planted agents to infiltrate their party? I’ve several questions. Khupe was the acting president of the party in September 2017, so what is the problem? Mudzuri acted as well, so what’s the fuss all about? Here comes the young advocate simply making similar move, so what is the problem? Mudzuri left for SA Cape Town meetings, so he wanted to be the President whilst he is in SA? Something is not adding up? I’ve several questions regarding to that effect. So Mudzuri and crew wanted a tree to act on behalf of the party? Why would Mudzuri disembark from a plane in Johannesburg to simply go and beg for MDC T Presidency? To me energy wasted. Look in Zambia, Lungu was far from that hot seat but it happened dramatically after all people tried to block him, by fighting for MDC T acting presidency will damage his political ambitions. In fact people have already developed cold feet on him, why would one fight for acting capacity?
Zimbabweans have high literacy rate. To me I can easily tell something is being cooked somewhere in SA or behind Harvest House. Why would all of a sudden bar someone’s wife from seeing her husband whom she has been assisting all along? Why would Tsvangirai’s kids dwell into internal party politics? Remember MDDC structures are very clear they don’t want the family of their president to dwell into succession politics. Zimbabweans are fed up, and almost everyone has learnt his or her lesson from Mugabe dynasty. To me I suspect that brown envelopes are being exchanged between some family members and MDC top officials. Everyone can almost tell what is happening. Remember Tsvangirai has a spokesperson, why would someone go in front of a hospital and pause for photos so that people can see that you have visited the hospital. That’s cheap politics, whoever is advising Mudzuri’s faction should simply back off from this embarrassment. The electorate has already made a decision.
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the Head of Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research – SIPAR TRUST, which is responsible for policy analysis and research. He is also an academic and researcher. He is currently enrolled at University of KwaZulu Natal University in South Africa (PHD in Development Studies). He is also a Policy Advisor in many institutions within and outside Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org