IN the late 1990s when the MDC emerged, one of the notable players that came into the picture of Zimbabwean political field was Welshman Ncube.
He was one of few academics that were in the opposition movement.
In 15 years of being in the heart of the playing field, a lot has happened, history has been made, records have been set and
He has been praised, accused and persecuted by both comrades and enemies.
Among the praisers, his number one public fan would be Tendai Biti, the leader of MDC-Renewal team. In June 2013, after a heated Sadc meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, Biti shamelessly and fearlessly titled Ncube the “Lion of Vungu”.
Among the accusers, his number one public detractor would be MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
He accused and continues to accuse him of masterminding the infamous 2005 split.
Tsvangirai, in his book titled The Deep End, refers to Ncube as a termite who destroyed the MDC.
It is very ironic that two people (then in the same party) could have such a fundamentally different view of the same person.
The president saw a “destructive termite” while the secretary-general saw a progressive “lion”. This leaves us with what we would like to call the “lion v termite” battle of definition.
Why did Biti call him a “lion”? And why did Tsvangirai call him a “termite”?
Having presented a very strong argument against a date that President Robert Mugabe had set for 2013 elections, he did not only impress Sadc heads of State, everyone was impressed, including other MDC-T leaders, chief among them Biti.
Although the Supreme Court later dismissed the Sadc resolution on the date, it was very much reasonable, normal and expected for young politicians like Biti to see the spirit of an indomitable lion in Ncube.
It is this writer’s view that whosoever is leading a political party in Southern Africa should study Ncube’s argument at the Maputo 2013 Sadc summit. In October 2005, Ncube managed to convince the MDC national council that it was only logical and constitutional for the party to take part in the senatorial elections.
Tsvangirai had a strong feeling against the idea of contesting the senatorial elections.
However, he was not able to articulate why he felt so. Therefore, his feeling remained nothing more than an unexplained emotion.
As a result, the national council resolved not to contest and Tsvangirai decided not to only form a new party with a similar name to MDC, but to also call Ncube a termite.
When students of politics begin to study the MDC split, they will notice that this was nothing but history repeating itself.
More than 3 500 years ago, the Ncube-Tsvangirai battle was mirrored by one young man called David and one king called Saul. King Saul wanted to defeat a Philistine giant by the name Goliath of Gath, but he lacked the capacity.
The young David had the full knowledge and capacity to defeat Goliath and he fought him and defeated him.
However, the glorious victory celebrations did not last long, King Saul was now baying for David’s blood.
This saw the split of the Holy Nation, Israel.
The mistake that Ncube and the young David made was to outshine their leaders.
This is a known law for those in the game of power. Never outshine the master.
Robert Greene, in the book 48 Laws of Power, argues that it is wise to always make those above you feel comfortably superior and not to go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite — inspire fear and insecurity.
A violation of this law led to King Saul baying for David’s head and Tsvangirai calling Ncube a termite.
Fromer United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, went as far as saying Ncube should be pushed out of the political stage.
It is, therefore, up to the public to decide if Ncube is a lion or a termite.
It is this writer’s view that Ncube is a highly capable, intelligent and shrewd politician who can take Zimbabwe forward. He is indeed worth of the title bestowed upon him by Biti — “the Lion of Vungu”.
Shephard Dube is the Bulawayo provincial chairperson of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC youth assembly