Biti calls for united democratic front and end to hero worship

via Biti calls for united democratic front and end to hero worship | The Zimbabwean 12.03.14 by Nelson Sibanda

Opposition politics should not revolve around individual personalities but a team comprising people sharing common values, MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti has said.

Biti spoke to The Zimbabwean at the Southern African Political and Economic Series Trust in Harare last Thursday.

He said opposition politics should not begin and end with individual leaders and it was time for Zimbabweans to rally behind a united democratic front, to remove Mugabe and Zanu (PF) from power at the 2018 elections.

“Opposition parties, civil society, student bodies and other democratic forces should team up against Mugabe and his party, since no single small party can successfully challenge Zanu (PF) at elections,” Biti said.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s failure to grab the presidency in 2008 was partly attributed to the number of candidates, since Simba Makoni took away a deciding percentage of the ballot.

Biti said the united force composed of performers and champions rather than powerful leaders should be a broad alliance not a single party. It would focus on central strategic values and bear in mind that the struggle was not about individuals, but the people.

Personalised politics wrong

A call was made for inclusion of fresh ideas, different players and a party leader separate from the presidential election candidate.

The MDC-T secretary-general admitted that his party failed in its 2013 election strategy. He described the election manifesto, centred on JUICE, as too sophisticated for the electorate, which struggled to understand it.

He also blamed party structures responsible for the strategies for failing to articulate coherent messages effective enough to “fell the old man”.

He said instead of selling itself through the JUICE jargon, MDC-T was supposed to give clear and immediate hopes to the people the way Zanu (PF) did.

“Zanu (PF) simply promised people empowerment and Bhora Mugedhe,”

Biti said, emphasising the need for a clean-up in the MDC-T, a party he described as a good house not to be abandoned.

As part of the next political strategy, he suggested that the opposition should identify with the liberation struggle and not liberation movements.

The current economic and political crisis, Biti said, should present opposition parties with the opportunity to regroup into a formidable force “since Zanu (PF) was at its weakest, as a result of internal struggles for power”.

Biti took the opportunity to “assure” people that he knew his responsibilities in MDC-T and would not do anything to leave the party and the struggle for democracy.

“I will never do anything to destroy MDC-T and remain loyal to millions of people who suffered and died for the democratic project,” Biti said.

MDC-T violence horrific

Biti escaped recent violence at MDC-T headquarters when suspended party deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma was attacked by suspected pro-Tsvangirai youths. He said said: “The violence was horrendous and could best be described as hell on earth”.

Hid dismissed claims that the MDC was a western project as rubbish and an insult to the Zimbabwean stakeholders who braved dictatorship to form the party in 1999.

Biti defended Elton Mangoma as a hard-headed politician speaking his mind without donor influence.He urged the MDC-T not to deal with differences through violence. He said opposition politics should respect internal democracy.

“We cannot expect Zanu (PF) to be democratic when MDC-T is not,” he said.

Political analyst Shakespear Hamauswa, said it was the opposition that was at its weakest, not Zanu (PF).

He partly blamed problems surfacing in the opposition parties on a clash of personalities, polarisation and patronage politics.

Hamauswa reminded Biti that opposition parties in Zimbabwe were incompatible and a united front would be difficult to realise.

“Depersonalisation of parties would be difficult since every struggle would have a face,” he said. “Opposition parties should read books about power if they are to mature in politics.”

He blamed the MDC-T election defeat on poor strategies and described the intra-party violence against Mangoma as a schoolboy blunder by those behind it.

Hamauswa suggested that opposition movements narrow their focus to main objectives.

He said that, in its infancy, the MDC managed to attract some sympathisers from within Zanu (PF) and the military before Tsvangirai and his advisors started to blunder.

Hardly 48 hours after Biti had called for tolerance and internal democracy in MDC-T, Mangoma was suspended from the party on Saturday, for suggesting that Tsvangirai step down and make way for a new leader.


  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 8 years ago

    The adage “two heads are better then one”suggests ideas flow much better when more people add get together to solve a problem. Engineers do this everyday when finding a problem. It does appear that our politicians cant think for themselves or are simply useless in task assessments. In other words someone has to help them along the way. A teacher of soughts. Mugabe does this with his lackeys and we all know the results. Other parties should learn from this and talk about how they change this mindset. Otherwise nothing will change.

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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    The opposition cannot unite when T will insist on one of his own in every constituency

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    loveness 8 years ago

    Biti is lost.he is just jelousy of mt popularity.hero worship your leader and you will win elections.obama, mandela one can ever win an election without being made a want us to vote for an ordinary leader.nada.check even mugabe.

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      And that is precisely why the country is in such a quagmire Loveness. Your examples; Mandela was president for one term, Obama is on his last term, what about the people you hero-worship in Zimbabwe, life time non-performing presidents all of them. Be patriotic, think of Zimbabwe and its people first, not individuals, please.

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      Saddened 8 years ago

      The difference is Mandela served only one 5 year term while Obama will only serve two 4 year terms not like Tsvangirai who has been MDC leader for 15 years and Mugabe has been ZPF leader for nearly 40 years!!! Mandela was happy for Oliver Tambo to lead while he was imprisoned.
      Tsvangirai can still play a major role in the MDC by mentoring younger leaders. We need to mature in our thinking about leaders.

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        Mandy 8 years ago

        Debating with saddened is like urging with a fool, people will not notice the difference.

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    Well said Thomas. The MDC-T lost a constituency in Matabeleland South because a candidate was imposed. The opposition lost because it never wanted to work together for a common cause. Zanupf implants in every opposition kept on telling lies saying “we will win.Its our president who will win”. They made noise after noise with some claiming Zanupf could never rig elections. A win is never one unless it has become one.All the opposition parties must agree whether they want to change politics in this country or the leadership just wants to be honoured and hero worshipped at public gatherings.

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    Insider 8 years ago

    In view of the fact that Tsvangirai was present when the assault on Mangoma was planned and did nothing to stop same when it occured, he is part of the “school boy blunder”. An absolute disgrace and will probably be the end of MT in the fullness of time.

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      itayi 8 years ago

      Wrong again Ms Insider. The whole violence was planned elsewhere by people who wanted to hurt Tsvangirai. I want to believe that if on that day Tsvangirai had not left at the moment he did then the intention was to fatally hurt him. How is it that on the day in question a certain Spencer was part of the commotion and Kisimusi was in the vicinity yet these two people had not been seen at Harvest House for ages. Is madame Insider aware Madame Spencer and Kisimusi are now always in the presence of Mangoma as his body guard.

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    Why do ALL the opposition parties not put their differences aside and unite under the only two things that can unite them: Firstly and most importantly His name is Jesus and Christ and secondly because of Zimbabwe. If all the leaders of the myriad of MDC’s, Zapu, MKD etc came together and took a ballot openly via sms, whatsapp or whatever as to who should lead the group until the next elections can be organised and thereafter for one term. And then the remaining leaders are given top positions in order of the size of the party. There would need to be much forgiveness, honesty, maturity and God’s grace. Every party would hold their positions through the next term in office but would have 5 years to restructure their own parties, form alliances and campaign for the next elections. United we stand and divided we have fallen. It is because each one of us has a selfish agenda and not God’s agenda for ourselves and our nation! And then I woke up…..

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    munzwa 8 years ago

    the party will not achieve anything till Mangoma is back in the fold and these other suspect suspensions are can not talk of unity then expel those who provide debatable comments…

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    itayi 8 years ago

    Biti’s naivety baffles!!! Calls for internal party democracy in an authoritarian environment is but a fallacy designed to destroy opposition. If Biti and some of those who pretend on leadership of the democratic movement cannot comprehend this simple truth then God help us. It only demonstrates that they are still a long way to discovering the the real nature of that which they are fighting. Zanu pf has monopolized all space for any meaningful internal democracy to take place. Zanu pf sponsors dissent, infiltrates its own agents some of whom have even risen into leadership positions, it make laws and many other things just to ensure that the opposition falters. Biti has not appreciated essence of the secret group of ten, to which he was a member and makes reference to time and again. A cursory reading of “At the deep end” surely should have made Biti understand why those who were in the planning committee decided that ZCTU should spearhead the formation of the new party instead of the CIO infested public forum that the NCA had become. Biti ought to appreciate that if the MDC had been formed through the NCA then the MDC would most probably have never lasted even the first election. Let me remind Biti of two incidences that are instructive. Is Biti aware that his own current deputy parted ways with the movement just before the launch of the new party and instead joined the Constitutional Commission led by the late Eddison Zvobgo! Secondly, is Biti aware that Ben Hlatiwayo passionately participated in the working people’s convention, even chairing one of the committees and would have been the first secretary general of the MDC if the so called internal party democracy had been followed! I leave you to form your own opinions of this but hasten to stay I am not insinuating anything by mentioning these two incidences.

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    gorongoza 8 years ago

    Biti and Mangoma are just powerhungry individuals.fullstop.

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    Elton Mangoma is an overzealous Judas representing the hyenas appetite of power by a small clique who think they can make a difference from Welshman Ncube ,Simba Makoni, Authur Mutambara etc.To this overambitious group,I just want to inform them that they will be the JOB SIKALA of the near future.MDC -T, LETS BE WEARY OF VANA PENGA UDZOKE. These seemingly prodigal sons of the party have been recruited to come and aid finishing of the JOB.WATCH!

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    The Truth. 8 years ago

    Ending hero worshipping should start with the MDC-T Tsvangirayi fanatical supporters who will see no evil and hear no evil no matter what. The should start by first stopping being copycats of gukurahundi ZANU PF, where the hero worshipping has reached unprecedented levels!!

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    jobolinko 8 years ago

    Mangoma should not have played to the gallery ,he made a school boy blunder.

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    Every struggle has a face so whats wrong wth Tsvangirai being the face of the struggle and u guys Mangoma , Biti and the Madzores cme to his aid.Tsvangirai is not in Parliament bt you are in because he campaigned for you.if it wasnt his name people know you were nt going to make it,You are selouts i think you are implants you kno what i mean Devils.