MDC-T wars give Mugabe advantage


AN implosion of the MDC-T will give President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF time to regroup and cement its dominance in power, analysts said yesterday.


Political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said Zanu PF needed a strong opposition, but the infighting in the MDC-T had disqualified the opposition party as an alternative.

Speaking at a public discussion organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition on Wednesday, Mandaza said Zimbabwe cannot afford the disintegration of the MDC-T.

“First it’s a tragedy,” he said. “We can’t afford to lose an important opposition movement in this country.

“Our democracy had grown with the MDC-T with (Morgan) Tsvangirai as a symbol and has been a very important factor in our society. We hope they will resolve their differences soon.”

Mandaza said there was no reason for Zanu PF to celebrate the MDC-T implosion as the ruling party also had a potential for unrest due to “unguided discontent”.

“We don’t have political parties but movements. These are election platforms and unless you are in power, you implode,” he said.

“The fact why Zanu PF is intact is because they are in power. Tsvangirai regrettably has nothing and unless you are in power, you implode.”

Mandaza conceded that the country was in a crisis emanating from the issue of succession in both political parties as they created “cult-like” individuals in their leaders.

“We have a crisis of succession. The crisis in Zanu PF is delayed because they are in power,” he said.

Mandaza said the problem was because of the nature of politics that makes “leaders become kings and regrettably the MDC-T did not change the script”.

Writing in the Guardian Africa Network, one Simukai Tinhu said Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti quickly fell out after the formation of the party, but they decided to exist side by side in an uneasy alliance characterised by back-stabbing, plotting and sub-plotting against each other.

“The uneasiness between the two largely stems from the dominance of Tsvangirai’s personality over the MDC,” he said. “Tsvangirai is popular with the party supporters and as a result he and his followers find it hard to accommodate alternative ideas and leadership. Indeed, the name of the party, MDC-T, illustrates the entrenchment of his personal power.”

Tinhu added: “Turmoil in the MDC-T is a gift to Zanu PF. Indeed, the party leadership is increasingly weakened by the constant plotting against each other, with power struggles eroding internal cohesion, tarnishing the public image and undermining the party’s recruitment drive.”

He said there was potential that voters might be turned off and stay at home rather than vote for a candidate who is not their preferred choice. Another writer, Simon Allison said if Tsvangirai cared as much about his country as he claimed, he should have taken concerns raised by Biti and other party members seriously.

“Truth is, Tsvangirai has had his chance to take on Mugabe, and he’s lost.

“The longer he remains in office, the happier Mugabe will be, secure in the knowledge that Tsvangirai’s combative style and diminishing influence will be unable to unify the opposition against him. Zanu PF will never be defeated by an MDC-T faction,” he said.

Allison said the MDC-T can only succeed in challenging the ruling party if it reorganises properly because there is strength in numbers and remaining united.

“Petty political differences must be set aside in pursuit of the greater good. Tsvangirai has taken his eye off the prize, confusing his own future with Zimbabwe’s — that’s why he must go, to make space for a leader who will put Zimbabwe first,” he said.