We cannot emulate Zanu PF — MDC

via We cannot emulate Zanu PF — MDC – DailyNews Live 2 August 2014 by Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main opposition party says it has nothing to emulate from Zanu PF amid speculation that the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition movement is about to amend its constitution in order to deal with unending internal dissent.

After weathering two coup attempts, one in 2005 and the other this year from former key leaders — there has been debate in the MDC to review the party’s constitution to clip the wings of the powerful secretary generals — something that Zanu PF did long back.

In Zanu PF, it is President Robert Mugabe who appoints the secretary for administration — a watered down version of the secretary general.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC organising secretary told the Daily News yesterday that the MDC is looking at entrenching its democratic systems.

“We are reforming our institutions in order to strengthen them. Far from it, we are not going to amend our constitution to weaken the party but rather to strengthen it. Talk that we are copying Zanu PF is a lie.  There is no way that a party of 1999 can copy a party of 1963,” said Chamisa.

Zanu PF, which marked its golden jubilee last year, was formed in 1963, assumed political power in 1980 and like a colossus, has dominated the country’s political landscape for the past 34 years.

On the other hand, the relatively young MDC was formed in 1999 and momentarily assumed power, albeit as a junior partner in 2009.

Four years in an inclusive government with Zanu PF, ended in 2013 with a heartache for the Tsvangirai-led outfit.

Bruised and battered, the MDC was to descend into further turmoil early this year when former secretary-general Tendai Biti went the Welshman Ncube route and broke away from the mainstream MDC formation.

Following the departure of Biti along with a coterie of MDC leaders — there have been calls from within the labour backed movement for a strict constitution to guard against similar incidents in the future.

However, Chamisa said the impending congress, set to be held in October, offers a platform for revival for the opposition.

“We are not going to weaken our party but to embolden it. It is good that we are going to have our congress this year before Zanu PF’s congress in December. This offers us a platform to teach Zanu PF about internal party democracy.

“We taught them that to be a youth, it is about age and they are implementing that. They are several issues which we want Zanu PF to learn from our congress,” said Chamisa.


  • comment-avatar
    mandy 7 years ago

    What is the fuss here? I do not really understand it neither do I have an appreciation of it. What is so special about a direct election of a standing committee? For the benefit of those who do not have an appreciation of the concept of a standing committee I will explain here. It is the equivalent of a presidency in zanu pf or a cabinet in a government. The difference with a presidency in zanu is that the standing committee is the actual day to day Executive team of the party. The question is do you need a presidency of 13 people all directly elected by congress? Does such a structure not bring paralysis to the organisation? In the case of the MDC and indeed in the cases of all social democratic systems that ever adopted such a system the result was similar in that it led to paralysis of the institution. Social democratic parties from developing countries have all abandoned this system because it made them lose elections all the time as they would remain internally focused. In fact they became self serving and irrelevant until they changed the system gearing it for delivery.

    It is farcical to idealise that system. How does a nation elect a cabinet then blame its president if the government fails to deliver? It is like blaming a speaker of parliament for the failure of a motion. The whole concept of an elected Standing Committee is a farce. Good examples are the current Organizer and secretary for publicity of the MDC T who really square pegs in a round hole. Yet the President finds himself stuck with such non performing people for five years. Tendai Biti was a disaster at administration yet in terms of the constitution the president of the party would be stuck with him for five years. The same goes for Mangoma. The result are there for all to see. In fact all the work that progressed the party from the time of its launch would only come from the office of the president while the others are busy scheming on how to make it not work.

    Robust institutions elect the head and perhaps the Chairman. In the US the designate has a running mate. Once elected the President then chooses from elected parliamentarians whom to get into his own cabinet. In this case the parliament is the equivalent of the national executive. The national executive is elected directly by congress. So even in this case the President does not have arbitrary powers as being insinuated. instead should be organisation fail to deliver then the blame is on him for making bad choices.

    The issue here is about making the president responsible for delivery. But when you have things the other way round then you are simply dispersing personal responsibility for failure to deliver. In reality a political institution structured by way of directly elected standing committee can only deliver by accident. Given an autocratic environment an institution structured along the lines of a directly elected standing committee is always going to be second best and lethargic.

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    jobolinko 7 years ago

    the problem is a devil incarnate

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    munzwa 7 years ago

    why blame Biti? The President has to constantly monitor his gate keepers, trying to impose candidates will always spark adverse reaction..

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    Straight Shooter 7 years ago

    What a blue lie. MDC-T was formed in 2005, not 1999. There is no record anywhere in history of an MDC-T political party, check your facts!!

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      Straight Shooter 7 years ago


      I meant there is no record anyhwere in history, prior to 2005 of an MDC-T party!!