The MDC-T’s po­lit­i­cal harakiri

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/feature - Spec­trum Jo­ram Ny­athi

OUR po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor Tichaona Zin­doga did a good job on Wed­nes­day this week in ex­pos­ing the hypocrisy and dou­ble stan­dards of Amer­ica and its al­lies in deal­ing with is­sues of public vi­o­lence. This was in re­ac­tion to sanc­ti­mo­nious state­ments is­sued by the US, Canada and Aus­tralia con­demn­ing al­leged po­lice bru­tal­ity in try­ing to con­tain ri­otous demon­stra­tions by youths align­ing to op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties led by the MDC-T un­der the ban­ner of the Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda.

In Amer­ica po­lice kill. They don’t risk their lives be­ing man­han­dled by a mob.

Zin­doga’s was a great piece but writ­ten for a bad cus­tomer. In a nor­mal world, the ex­po­sure of such hypocrisy should elicit a sense of shame.

On sev­eral oc­ca­sions we have seen on CNN a sin­gle in­truder be­ing shot for stray­ing into the lawn of the White House.

In Zim­babwe we are told it is democ­racy for thou­sands of protestors to march to State House while po­lice stand arms akimbo. Among our own peo­ple, Zin­doga’s piece should be an eye-opener as it were.

But the trouble is we in­habit a world of su­pe­rior, white law-givers who don’t have to live by their own codes, on the one hand, and on the other, in­fe­rior, black na­tives who don’t be­lieve they are hu­man enough to set their own stan­dards, and must live by the hypocrisy of the alien law-givers. And we are treated as such.

It is there­fore not sur­pris­ing that when Amer­ica and its al­lies is­sue such par­tial state­ments de­mand­ing re­straint and ob­ser­vance of hu­man rights by the po­lice but openly sup­port law­less­ness on the part of ri­ot­ers they are given prime space by op­po­si­tional me­dia. They are deemed to be ob­jec­tive.

These are the same me­dia who com­plain of ha­rass­ment in the course of their law­ful du­ties but ap­par­ently don’t ap­pre­ci­ate that the law­ful duty of a po­lice of­fi­cer is to main­tain law and or­der, in­clud­ing pro­tect­ing the loony re­porter who ex­poses him­self to dan­ger by stand­ing be­tween ri­ot­ers and anti-riot po­lice, to take pic­tures of a phoney war sit­u­a­tion.

They treat the US and its al­lies as am­bas­sadors of hu­man rights and democ­racy, the same na­tions whose eco­nomic foun­da­tions were laid by the blood, sweat and tears of our an­ces­tors as slaves, and whose colo­nial legacy is the cause of African poverty amid plenty and at the root of Zim­babwe’s ter­mi­nal fight for indi­geni­sa­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources and eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of the black peo­ple.

It is this good for­tune which gives Western na­tions the nerve to stand on a moral pedestal preach­ing hu­man rights among a peo­ple they won’t al­low to as­sume own­er­ship of their God-given nat­u­ral re­sources.

They must be sur­prised that any­body takes them se­ri­ously!

There is lit­tle to be said for the MDC-T. The party has never been so sui­ci­dal. There is ev­i­dent sense of panic about the fu­ture. And it be­lieves Amer­ica and the West can come to its res­cue be­fore an in­evitable end.

The MDC-T al­lowed its ex­hausted leader Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai to re­call about 14 MPs from Par­lia­ment where they could have in­flu­enced elec­toral law re­form.

Now they want Zanu-PF to re­form the law against it­self, fail­ing which the MDC-T prom­ises to use stones to achieve the same goal.

And it wants to be treated with kid gloves when it abuses the Con­sti­tu­tion to fo­ment hooli­gan­ism and an­ar­chy in the coun­try!

How did the MPs it re­called win their seats in the first place in 2013, un­der the same elec­toral law and elec­toral com­mis­sion­ers it now vil­i­fies as im­par­tial and sub­orned?

Let’s not con­fuse is­sues about the demon­stra­tions. And the MDC-T seems to be too good at cre­at­ing con­fu­sion and ap­pro­pri­at­ing peo­ple’s con­cerns.

There are peo­ple who are hun­gry. There are grad­u­ates who have no jobs. There are Zim­bab­weans who have no ac­com­mo­da­tion, oth­ers who can’t ac­cess health care and many who can’t send their chil­dren to school.

These are gen­uine peo­ple’s griev­ances ev­ery le­git­i­mate op­po­si­tion party should raise in good faith at ap­pro­pri­ate fora.

That is the task of ev­ery re­spon­si­ble op­po­si­tion, not a sadis­tic or­gan­i­sa­tion seek­ing to ex­ploit peo­ple’s agony for its own po­lit­i­cal ends, in­stead of try­ing to al­le­vi­ate that suf­fer­ing.

Zim­babwe’s econ­omy is “scream­ing” un­der sanc­tions the MDC called for, but chooses to deny there are sanc­tions, and that if they ex­ist, they should not be lifted so long as it is not in power.

That is why the party has never mo­bilised for a sim­ple pe­ti­tion, let alone a demon­stra­tion, against Zidera, Amer­ica’s in­iq­ui­tous sanc­tions law im­posed to throt­tle the land re­form pro­gramme.

Such a party can­not pur­port to stand for the wel­fare of the ma­jor­ity. It rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of those who im­posed sanc­tions on the na­tion.

The MDC uses ev­ery for­eign plat­form to cam­paign against for­eign fund­ing for the Zim­bab­wean Gov­ern­ment be­cause that will help re­lieve peo­ple’s suf­fer­ing.

It doesn’t want that to hap­pen so long as it is not in power. The party has used ev­ery plat­form to cam­paign against the land re­form, push­ing in­stead for the prop­erty rights of a small white mi­nor­ity.

This has not only ex­cluded a ma­jor­ity of its fol­low­ers out of a na­tional her­itage but has sorely di­vided the na­tion.

In­stead, the same un­re­pen­tant white for­mer com­mer­cial farm­ers now use MDC-T plat­forms to de­mand com­pen­sa­tion for land from which they made un­de­served for­tune dur­ing 90 years of racist, colo­nial oc­cu­pa­tion and us­ing black slave labour.

The MDC-T doesn’t take this as an in­sult. We de­served to be colonised; the white man must have his land.

When whites then mock us that “blacks are not peo­ple” we feign anger. But we demon­strate it to them through fawn­ing be­hav­iour ev­ery day.

Of late there has been the is­sue of bond notes an­nounced by Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Dr John Man­gudya. He made clear these would be used to pay in­cen­tives to ex­porters to pro­duce more.

That is one way Zim­babwe can earn the Amer­i­can dol­lars we love so much. The bond notes would also be backed by a $200 mil­lion Afrex­im­bank loan.

That has been met with re­sis­tance by the MDC and its paid scholars. They don’t want a lo­cal cur­rency. It is not good for Zim­babwe.

It will give the Gov­ern­ment power over the di­rec­tion of the econ­omy through the sin of “quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing” in times of cash short­age.

In­stead, Gov­ern­ment must fold its arms, bend over back­wards like a whore to at­tract for­eign cur­rency from in­vestors.

Yet the vi­o­lent street protests are cal­cu­lated to en­sure no in­vestor comes near Zim­babwe’s bor­der. What a car­ing party!

Then came an im­port re­stric­tion on non-es­sen­tial goods at the be­gin­ning of July, which sparked it all. Gov­ern­ment was re­spond­ing to a plea by in­dus­try. And they want more goods banned.

We ap­pre­ci­ate why there was an im­me­di­ate out­cry from cross bor­der traders. It cuts their source of liveli­hood.

But we don’t ex­pect that im­port ban to be rocket sci­ence to a po­lit­i­cal party which has been de­mand­ing 2,2 mil­lion jobs promised by Zanu-PF in 2013.

How does Gov­ern­ment pro­mote the cre­ation of jobs when in­dus­try is not pro­duc­ing any­thing and ev­ery­thing is im­ported?

We don’t ex­pect the MDC to sup­port all Zanu-PF poli­cies. That is not its busi­ness. We ex­pect it to sup­port poli­cies which help feed peo­ple, poli­cies which em­power the ma­jor­ity and grow the new econ­omy.

When all is said and done, a se­ri­ous leader and a re­spon­si­ble po­lit­i­cal party should rise above pop­ulism and think long term.

By choos­ing vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions to take over power, rather than con­test elec­tions, less than two years away, the MDC has squan­dered peo­ple’s good­will and taken the way of sui­cide.

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