Speaking in silence: Welshman Ncube


THE elections of July 31 2013 came, happened and left an indelible mark of success and failure on the political parties which took to the field of electoral contest.

The MDC led by Welshman Ncube, that lawyer who seemingly epitomises honest citizenship, fared the worse for wear and many questions about the party’s ability to survive let alone reorganise itself into an attractive alternative to Zanu PF and its shadow the MDC-T, have become the favourite political subject of many.

The questions about the post-July 31 activities and geographic location of the party president Ncube are quite legitimate for one who having hogged public limelight for a years now and recently as a key Global Political Agreement minister who couldn’t be ignored.

That man whom President Robert Mugabe managed to keep away from the table of “principals” with the well documented . . . mina angifuni refrain has gone siren silent.

I am sure Ncube does not find it strange that his silence and retreat from public space has raised all sorts of theories some funny with others absolutely bizarre, with some even suggesting that he has taken to the forest and is now a long haired, white bearded hermit.

It is natural for a man of his national status that friend and foe will ask what he could be doing now, what he might be planning for the future, what thoughts he could have regarding the post election Zimbabwe and many more such legitimate inquiries as must be expected of a man whose style of leadership and concept of national governance is always daring and audacious, offering a diametric departure from the past staleness to a fresh brand of politics focussed on what needs to be done and articulated in clear and pragmatic non-populist terms.

Clearly while there might be need for Ncube to respond to the inquiries at some point, it is equally if not more important that when he responds he does so in a composed and definitive manner which will deliver confidence not only to his party members and supporters but to all those Zimbabweans seeking political sobriety and grounded leadership.

This approach will not be a departure from the way of great leaders who in times of difficulty keep their mind, eyes and ears open while their mouths remain sealed and opening only to speak with assuring credibility.

Without a shadow of doubt Welshman is a pragmatic and calculating politician exuding a calm and confident demeanour which suggests that all this silence is most likely a well thought out strategy where he keeps a low profile, sits back and allows the dust to settle and later emerge feathers seemingly unruffled, confidence rejuvenated with razor sharp mental awareness and ready to lead another charge for hope and credible change.

He would then speak clearly offering robust analysis of the present national reality and what needs to be done to catalyse the country’s recovery process.

During this period of sociopolitical hibernation he could begin to understand the circumstances in which he finds himself, assess the political reality so that his response is not knee jack or that of loose lips speaking for the sole purpose of contributing to the general post election noise, lots of noise with zero significance.

The tragedy of our politics, however, is that we are still caught up in the winner takes all and losers are dead never to rise again mentality. We have not learnt much from the process of inclusivity which is our recent past, which showed that the political field is ever changing and that while a party can be vanquished in a plebiscite, it can emerge victorious five years later with better introspection, planning and execution, Nikuv or no Nikuv.

Political contests are by their very nature marathons and viewing them as short sprints is as short-sighted as it is faulty. Those political parties and leaders who understand the patience needed in politics will plan long term and not be flattened by electoral defeats no matter how bad these seem at the moment.

A quick look at people’s struggles for change globally will attest to the marathon nature of political contest. Be it the fight against imperialistic colonisation in Africa and Zimbabwe particularly, the anti apartheid movement in South Africa or the struggle by black people for civil liberties in America, all took time and survived many setbacks which could have been misread as defeats when considered in the moment.

It is quite reasonable therefore, for Ncube to take some time in understanding the national point of pain before rushing in headlong like a fool that charges into the abyss while angels dither.

The next election is four years and some months away, the new government has only just announced the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Social and Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), the promised magic bullet for a quick economic turnaround.

The real work of shadowing and calling government to account starts now.

If Ncube has been deliberately silent, then he might just be a wiser man than we all suspect. His issue based politics might just prove to be the real and only deal and a welcome move away from the general opposition for opposing sake.

This might be the time out that he needed to set himself up into the real challenger for the throne and the balanced leader Zimbabwe needs come 2018.

Zethule Nkengana is a life student of political science. E-mail: nkengana@gmail.com


  1. ncube is doing well. zimbabwe will come right soon, not through zanu but through right minded people. if zanu does not change it will not be part of it.

Comments are closed.