MDC feud and folly of seeking sanctuary in lion’s den

via MDC feud and folly of seeking sanctuary in lion’s den – Nehanda Radio May 17, 2014 By William Muchayi

The acrimonious spat in the MDC has not only shaken the foundations of the main opposition party, but, at worst, exposed the limitations in the mindset of those purporting to be fighting for freedom.

Not to the surprise of many, Jacob Mudenda, speaker of parliament, refused to be dragged in the mud by both the Biti and Tsvangirai camps in their tug of war through returning the case to each camp with the advice that a court of law was the best avenue to seek redress and not parliament.

The stance isn’t surprising for several reasons. Firstly, Mudenda, being a staunch Zanu PF member, didn’t want to give the impression that he is an interested party in the MDC wrangle for the issues at stake are internal to the opposition party.

In addition, wisdom taught the speaker that parliament has nothing to do with internal matters of a political entity like the MDC, for, the issues at stake could only be resolved by a court of law and not the speaker of parliament.

Not only that, chances are remote that Mudenda could have made a ruling as early as this hour, for, how can he stop the music, when Mugabe still dances on the stage?

It is naïve and at worst misleading to assume that the speaker is not interested in the affairs of the opposition, for, the longer the confusion drags on in the camp, the easier it becomes for Mugabe to entrench his dictatorship, thus, perpetuating his grip on power in spite of his advanced age and misrule, hence the decision to refer the case to the courts where it can drag on for years at the expense of the opposition and the oppressed.

Now that the case is back in the hands of Biti and Khupe, what are the implications of seeking redress in a court of law? As it stands , neither side is prepared to test the depth of the river, for, the current is unpredictable and not forgetting the fact that it’s infested with hungry crocodiles waiting to grab even a floating log.

By complying with Mudenda’s advice, both Biti and Khupe would have sought sanctuary in a lion’s den, for, Zimbabwean courts are known to be notorious in supporting Mugabe at the expense of those seeking justice and the move is synonymous to seeking treatment from a witch.

For, it is no secret that under Mugabe’s dictatorship, the judiciary has sadly become an extension of Zanu PF’s repressive arm and for the opposition to approach this institution to resolve their internal matters is naïve and at worst unfortunate.

Isn’t it that there are judges already lined up to preside over the case in a bid to extend Zanu PF’s hegemony? In any case, Biti’s camp would be the first to take such a gamble not only because they have little to lose from this debacle, but also, also taking into consideration the fact that Elton Mangoma has pursued this route before although without success to block his expulsion from the party.

Indeed, the camp may also capitalise on the combined legal expertise of Biti and his new found ally Welshman Ncube to push for a court confrontation and also not forgetting Mugabe’s blessings for their agenda as pronounced in his recent utterances when he weighed in the saga.

Since Mugabe publicly exposed his interest in the case, it’s a wonder if there is any judge who would dare rule against the renewal team, hence, a better option for the Biti camp to follow Mudenda’s advice.

However, the route is a double-edged sword for both camps as it loosens their grip on the case, leaving it in the hands of someone to deliver a final verdict, which may not be favourable.

In addition, a court tussle isn’t only time-consuming for both camps , but costly financially at a time the Tsvangirai camp especially is in dire financial constraints, a dilemma the Biti camp may capitalise on as they are alleged to have the backing of donors.

In addition, a court confrontation would be a blessing in disguise for the Biti camp as it can be effective public relations machinery at the expense of the Tsvangirai camp who are likely to be badly bruised even if on the winning side, for, who would opt to dry their pants in public?

Who knew Jacob Mafume before except that he is a losing candidate in one of the Harare constituencies in the past until the emergence of the renewal agenda only a few months ago? That is the publicity Biti and his camp strive for before launching their own party and the Tsvangirai camp doesn’t benefit anything from this dogfight for they stands to lose and not gain.

However, of much concern is the sudden unraveling of the love affair between Biti and Ncube who seem to have made peace with Mugabe with the new common enemy now being Tsvangirai.

In all his countless public utterances, Jacob Mafume rarely makes mention of Mugabe, a development that raises suspicions more so when the country is at the verge of an economic meltdown, the ugly face of unemployment not showing signs of easing, repression at its peak and not forgetting the ageing Mugabe still hanging on the throne beyond his welcome.

As all this fight rages on, it is Zanu PF against all odds who stand to win for the drama in the opposition camp masks Mugabe’s flaws, thus, diverting the attention of those fighting for emancipation.

The economy is in ruins, Mugabe isn’t getting any younger and it’s a matter of when and not why before treasury can’t pay the civil service, and who in their right minds would bother to dwell in triviality as is the case in the MDC camp?

Isn’t this drama synonymous with the folly of the proverbial man who leaves his house in flames to pursue a rat fleeing from it? What then can be done to solve this puzzle? Both camps would acknowledge that the issue at stake isn’t unique in the history of Zimbabwean politics for Ncube and Mutambara’s tug of war provides the most recent case law from which lessons can be drawn.

Since each side appears to give the false impression that Jacob Mudenda’s decision was victory on their side, one wonders what their next step is as they navigate the thorny terrain ahead.

The Tsvangirai camp through Luke Tamborinyoka so far gave the clearest hint that they would proceed with recalling Biti and the other MPs on his faction from parliament since Mudenda’s response is interpreted as a green light on their side with the Biti camp preferring to take a back seat waiting to respond to the enemy’s offensive.

Proceeding to recall the renegade MPs by the Tsvangirai camp appears naïve and misinformed as the decision is based on the flawed premise that Mudenda is an honest broker in the whole affair and that there is respect for the constitution by the speaker of parliament, yet the reverse is true.

Mudenda will not entertain this move in spite of the ample evidence to justify it since the MDC debacle is music to him although he prefers to give the opposite impression in public.

The Tsvangirai camp can’t afford to be humiliated when the speaker of parliament pours mud in their face if ever they attempt to recall the renegade MPs for, how can Mudenda contradict Mugabe’s directive who happens to be sucked in the whole saga?

The best the Tsvangirai camp can do is to secure their assets and wait for time as Biti’s camp can’t wait to form their own party with a different name and brand. The tussle for the party’s name is only a strategic manoeuvre by Biti to serve a particular objective whose life span is short lived.

Didn’t Biti hint on that in the past and only to reply that he has an unfinished business to accomplish before forming his own party? Given this scenario, what is the wisdom of fishing in a crocodile infested river unless otherwise one plans to commit suicide?

At this juncture, time is the best healer as evidenced by the Ncube- Mutambara pitched fight that died a natural death. Let Biti form his own party and that is the right moment for the Tsvangirai camp to pounce for the kill by approaching Mudenda and as the situation stands; the former can’t wait any longer to have his own brand.

Unless Biti takes the offensive and calls the first shot, there isn’t any point in seeking redress in the courts as advised by Mudenda in spite of the strength of the case at hand as there are crocodiles tangled in the drag net waiting to pounce and they are hungry indeed. That is the way it is and he who blinks first risks losing the fight!

William Muchayi is a pro-democracy and political analyst who can be contacted on



  • comment-avatar
    Che'guevara 9 years ago

    A good observation william

  • comment-avatar
    Jenandebvu 9 years ago

    Well said

  • comment-avatar

    Articulately written. I enjoyed every bit of your article

  • comment-avatar
    roving ambassador. 9 years ago

    Does Mugabe ever show his hand. Do not be fooled.

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    Msizeni silwelani 9 years ago

    Knowing my brothers they will fall into the same trap, mark my words.

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    gwabu 9 years ago

    people and the newspapers are erroneously claiming there is a split in the mdc-t party. its misleading.
    Biti and company are no longer part of the mdc and were fired/dismissed. if you fire a member of an organisation does that result in a split of the organisation. the kunonga case comes into mind.
    biti has not even formed a party. there is no need to go to court on the issue of recalling of the mps. biti being out of mdc-t how does he even argue his case when the two facts are taken into consideration i.e. being out of mdc-t and having no registered party. remember biti is not contesting his dismissal from the mdc-t party.
    mdc-t should take medenda to court for refusing to obey their (mdc-t) instruction to recall biti and company from parliament. mdc-t should not waste time trying to argue the legality of bitis submissions to parliament. bitis submission is illegal.

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      Kondo 9 years ago

      Gwabu, I may not agree with you on whether Biti is still in the MDC or not but I respect your strategy on a possible way forward for Tsvangirai. It is smart and legally sound. However, personally, I think MT has failed use the people’s vote wisely too many times and he should step down. His strategies do NOT work with ZANU(PF).

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    Gondo 9 years ago

    Kondo…….Biti camp had their meeting away from the Party HQ,adding on the discussion above is not whether MT must step down now or Constitutionally wait for the Congress, which makes me wonder ………,if your suggestion is helping in the current situation…..Biti Camp I suspect is your home…..what kind of a nation will we have with such uninformed leaders

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    Phillip Mupfeka 9 years ago

    The analysis is not different from what other analysists, websites like and The Daily Newspaper who can not hide their support for Tsvangirai are saying. Biti suspended Tsvangirai and as the Secretary General it was within his powers. The writer omitted to note that Biti is going to change the name of the MDC-T party legally. Therefore that is totally acceptable. ZANU PF can change its name anytime in a legal way and that does not affect its MPs in parliament. Biti made a bold move to dump Tsvangirai at this juncture. He has ample time to build a strong force to reckon with.

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    Mapingu 9 years ago

    The author (Muchahyi) is missing the point by personalizing institutions, such as political parties, or any other institution for that matter. He wants Biti to form his ‘own’ party, and leave Tsvangirai with his ‘own’ party.

    The author is clearly a Tsvangirai supporter, no need to deny it & its not a crime to be a Tsvangirai supporter, any way. I really have no problem with that, even myself I would vote for Tsvangirai, given a Biti vs Tsvangi, or even Tsvangi vs anyone in Zim at the moment. But one thing for sure is the personalization of the party has been worrying me for a long-long time. Long back, soon after the last national elections, I commented that it was high time MDC_T dropped the prefix ‘T’ or even find a different name altogether and leave the MDC to Welshman & others. My argument remains the same that the idea of a party having a surname, which happens to belong to someone really confers ownership of the entity to the individual. That a matter of fact, like it or not.

    The question is: Is that the party we want – which belong to particular individuals? Who will obviously have the right to hire & fire, since it will be private property? My answer is a big know. So, please can we drop this party ownership by individuals & start espousing the fundamental principle of ‘servant leadership’ – not ‘owner leadership’. If anything, this is exact the root of all our problems in Zim – Mugabe owns both Zanu pf & Zimbabwe. So, he does whatever he wants & no one should raise a finger.

    So, guys are we fighting to replace Mugabe by others of same ilk? I strongly think we need to open up & reproduce what we claim to be fighting against.

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    Straight Shooter 9 years ago

    “In all his countless public utterances, Jacob Mafume rarely makes mention of Mugabe,…….”

    I can say the same thing about Tsvangirayi during the inclusive government. Notwithstanding the fact that they were meant to be fighting in the same corner against their common opponent Mugabe, Tsvangirayi either had nothing to say about Welshman Ncube or only the worst to say but, only the best of praises to about Mugabe – of course after get excited with the regular Monday morning State House teas!!!

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    Straight Shooter 9 years ago

    “William Muchayi is a pro-democracy and political analyst who can be contacted on

    This is the interesting closing line in William’s contribution above. The guy is clearly on the side of a violence prone, Kitchen Cabinet party going under the name MDC-T; but surprisingly he calls himself a “pro-democracy……..analyst”

    I guess the word democracy has found a new meaning among some people in Zimbabwe. No normal and intelligent person doesnt know that MDC-T and Tsvangirayi are violent. Nobody doesnt know that Tsvngirayi altered the party constitution to extend his rign at the helm of the party.

    Wena William – is this what you call democracy? Akuvuke bo!

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      Isu Zvedu 9 years ago

      If MDC and Tsvangirai are violent as you claim, I dont think Biti and team will be moving freely as they are doing, we could be talking of graves, had any members of zfp grouped and suspended Mugabe

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        Straight Shooter 9 years ago

        If Tsvangirayi is not violent, then why doesnt he deal with those causing violence in his party – viz Mangoma? What did he do to those that nealy killed Trudy Stevenson? What has he done with those involved in the recent violence at Harvest House? Why did he alter the party constitution to extend his stay at the helm of the party? Is that what you call a democrat?

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    Morris 9 years ago

    Isu Zvedu, you are making a deduction that lacks logic. If MT and his people do anything to TB and his people, it will be jail straight. Mugabe has the apparatus of hard power so he can deal with anyone while MT does not have hard power.

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    I agree w e writer. Let MT concentrate on Mugabe n ZPF n leave e renewal team alone. Responding to them gives e publicity they’re seeking. Let them enjoy eir parliamentary privileges whilst it lasts