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By Hopewell Chin’ono
Last year sometime around September, I realised that Robert Mugabe’s grip was not about to be released anytime soon, unless if his own people summoned the courage to turn against him.
He seemed to be consolidating his power base by denigrating his adversaries within his party who included Emmerson Mnangagwa, as his sidekicks like Jonathan Moyo were selfishly aiding him in this pursuit.
They seemed to have Zanu PF on lockdown as they worked with a group of charlatan opportunists in the media and even some in academia and within the opposition ranks.
I turned to Professor Brian Raftopolous and a senior respected civil society leader for ideas and discussions about our country.
I proposed to them that the best way out of this political nightmare for the country was if Morgan Tsvangirai and Nkosana Moyo could team up and work together, to unshackle Mugabe’s chains.
They agreed with me and we started talking to Morgan Tsvangirai and to Nkosana Moyo about this idea.
The idea was to harness Morgan Tsvangirai’s social base and bring Nkosana Moyo’s unparalleled international reputation, finance, global political outreach and ability to fund raise for an odious campaign against Robert Mugabe.
The two needed each other and what Tsvangirai lacked in stature, Moyo provided in bucketfuls, whilst Tsvangirai brought the numbers and political structures that Moyo lacked.
Tsvangirai tentatively agreed to the idea of having Nkosana Moyo as his number 2 in an alliance with people like Noah Manyika and others.
The idea came unstuck when Nkosana Moyo’s team told us that whilst they agreed with the principle and its cardinal reasons, they were worried about the MDC’s lack of a moral compass that was driven by nothing else other than its quest to removing Robert Mugabe.
They argued that the MDC had NO moral compass and that its values were divorced from theirs adding that the idea of teaming up with anyone and everyone for convenience was dangerous.
We were upset because we thought that Nkosana Moyo and his team were being self-servingly righteous. Months later, I had dinner at my home with Nkosana Moyo and a West African diplomat.
I brought up this issue again and asked Nkosana Moyo whether he thought they had made a political mistake by refusing to countenance the proposed working relationship with Morgan Tsvangiri and his political troops.
He laughed so hard and told me that he wanted to lay a rock-hard foundation for ethical politics adding that he might not win the 2018 presidential race, but he would have sown the seed for a better, respected, ethical and honest political movement.
Seven months later after having disagreed with him, I find myself in total agreement with his assertions. The MDC movement has proved that very little separates them from ZANUPF other than their lack of state power.
Like ZANUPF, they refused to take counsel from SADC when they were advised that they would NEVER win an election in Zimbabwe unless there were electoral reforms. They dismissed this advice pointing to the huge rallies that Morgan Tsvangirai was presiding over.
Just as SADC had warned them, they were clobbered at the polls and up to this very day, they do not know how they lost the election except to say that they were rigged.
It has become a perennial soundtrack that they sing with fervent vigour after every election loss only to disappear into political oblivion.
What have they done about the rigging allegations? They have been going to courts which had judges appointed by Robert Mugabe.
Instead of taking the SADC route, Morgan Tsvangiral was misadvised and the fruits of that lack of political foresight are the ones that have been served to them on the eve of the 2018 election.
The MDC will not win elections without root and branch electoral reforms in place, winning is a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never to be attained without reforms.
That is the political reality that can never be resolved or altered by going to courts, as the judiciary will rule interpreting issues using today’s laws.
Jonathan Moyo reminded them years ago before he was turfed out of ZANUPF that his then party, ZANUPF, would not willingly participate in crafting reforms that would see it lose elections.
Politics is not just about what the law says, it is about who makes the laws and interprets them and failure to understand this basic reality is a reflection of a student leader arrested development syndrome.
Morgan Tsvangirai died in February after a painful and dignified public battle with cancer, his demise provided a sad and terrible public spectacle that gave the citizens an insight into the undemocratic, misogynistic and violent nature of the MDCT.
The party of constitutionalism threw away its own constitution that literally went missing from the public domain.
Its current leader, Nelson Chamisa, burgled his way into the Presidency and yet the MDC moral, intellectual and political friends made ridiculous excuses to justify that illegality, which was done before their leader’s body had even left the South African morgue.
This was done in the full glare of the world media and yet up to this very day, the MDC surrogates and supporters will embarrassingly argue for what happened.
It is their right to do so, but the only problem is that when they are reminded of these self-evident truths, they resort to vulgarities and populist posturing at rallies and social media platforms.
Recruiting thuggery behaviour to underpin your political disposition will never alter your ethical and moral values. They will remain terrible regardless of how many people are behind your transgressions.
The barbaric behaviour and nature of threatening to burn Nelson Chamisa’s adversary in a hut, as happened to Thokozani Khupe at Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral, and calling her a whore will never become right because you have thousands of social media warriors backing such stone age behaviour.
It remains NO different to ZANUPF’s 2008 tactics of intimidation and naked violence.
Shredding your constitution for convenience remains the same as ZANUPF’s refusal to adhere to the norms of the rule of law that we witnessed during Murambatsvina and many other inordinate occasions during ZANUPF’s rule since 1980.
This election cycle has become so toxic and the usual slash and burn political party, ZANUPF, has been outdone by the opposition who have now recruited ex-ZANUPF scum who are not necessarily pushing any meaniful democratic values, but are busy fighting their own battles rooted in their bitterness of the celebrated November 2017 outcome.
Many amongst Zimbabweans have not worn their thinking caps to realise that they are simply accessories to ZANUPF sibling battles in this regard.
Many luminaries refuse to see or talk about that element because they somehow have always had a link to G40 and the current convergence is natural for them.
The unholy alliances not rooted in values are what led Nkosana Moyo and his group not to team up with Morgan Tsvangirai, because of the variance of political ideas and thought which would have given a still birth to a coherent political narrative which went over and beyond the removal of Mugabe.
The current stalemate between the MDC Alliance and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is rooted in bad laws that are ambiguous. These are the very things that Morgan Tsvangirai and his team were told about in Maputo by SADC leaders.
After disregarding the SADC advice and meeting their inevitable Waterloo in July of 2013, the MDCT turned on itself after Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma led a rebellion against Morgan Tsvangirai’s continued leadership.
Tsvangirai pulled out all the MPs who supported the rebels out of parliament, the very same parliament that would have fought for the reformation of the electoral laws and hygiene.
They were left with a skeleton outfit that only became noticeable from time to time when its eminent and able MPs like Jessie Majome were in action. Today Jessie Majome stands constructively dismissed from the MDC Alliance and is now running as an independent.
The rowdy supporters on social media and rallies can shout Chamisa Chete Chete all they want, but if the leadership is smitten by such vacuous slogans, then they too will deserve what stands ahead of them in every election without reformation of the electoral road map.
Slogans do not win power, it is what you do with the roadmap that makes you a winner or loser of an election.
Unfortunately the MDC Alliance has thrown a gauntlet at ZEC and the authorities that they can’t see through.
As Professor Brian Raftopolous noted recently, the MDC Alliance intellectuals have lost credibility because they supported and tried to legitimise the smash and grab of power after Tsvangirai’s passing in February.
The international community more or less don’t care who governs because the MDC Alliance and ZANUPF manifesto policies are all pointing towards a neoliberal program.
Most western countries now see Emmerson Mnangagwa as someone who provides a stable transition from Robert Mugabe into the future.
Unfortunately, instead of engaging these countries, the MDC Alliance luminaries like Tendai Biti have been waging a social media war of vulgarities against the British Ambassador Catriona Laing calling her Kapfupi, a derogatory reminder of her short height.
The media has not been spared either, whenever we have written analysis pieces that question why Nelson Chamisa needs Vanguard, his militia outfit, we have been called names and accused of being ZANUPF surrogates.
Is this the democracy that will usher in change and yet it will not allow people to differ with respect without calling them whores, ZANUPF supporters or enemies of the people?
The lack of value and moral coherence in a political party that claims to be different from the ruling party will be its undoing.
Nkosana Moyo and his team had foresight of all this, values after all do matter!
Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker. He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow and a CNN African Journalist of the year.
He is also a Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Africa leadership Institute.
Hopewell has a new documentary film looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind