Trevor Shiri Correspondent
Being a spin doctor of a party that is fast going off the rails is proving to be a mammoth task for MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu.
At times, reading his outlandish responses to questions from the media concerning the goings on in his party, and indeed his unsolicited comments on events in the country, leaves one in stitches.
It does not need a neuro-scientist to detect that the MDC-T is at sixes and sevens over reports that the yet-to-be-launched People First project is making inroads into the party’s support base. The MDC-T, in its scheme of things, thought the entrance of the People First into the political matrix would be a singular threat to Zanu-PF.
Alas, this was a fallacy: the People First project appears to be a threat to the raison d’être of the MDC-T itself, whose members are said to be joining or willing to jump ship while on the other hand Zanu-PF does not have to lose sleep because the core of the project are rejects who have long been counted out. The foregoing scenario has not gone unnoticed to the hitherto foreign funders of the MDC-T, who appear to be warming up to the new project, in the process neglecting the MDC-T.
Even the private media, which traditionally sings praises of the MDC-T, can no longer ignore the discord in that party.
It is unsurprising that the Southern Eye insert in the NewsDay yesterday led with the story “Tsvangirai calls off provincial meeting.” The story indicated that jolted by the defections to People First, Tsvangirai organised a series of meetings to appease disgruntled members. However, Tsvangirai aborted one of his meetings, following booing when imposed MDC-T Bulawayo Provincial Assembly chairperson, Gift Banda, attempted to address the meeting.
The irony lost on Gutu and Tsvangirai is that while they flaunt themselves as paragons of democracy, itself the middle name of the falsely named Movement for Democratic Change, they are averse to democracy. For those not in the know, Matson Hlalo, whose supporters booed the undemocratic Tsvangirai and Banda, successfully challenged the imposition of Banda by Tsvangirai as the chairperson at the High Court in October 2014. In passing his judgment, High Court Judge, Justice Martin Makonese, noted that “Sen Hlalo’s proclamation in challenging Clr Banda’s period as a bonafide member of the party had substance as the Bulawayo deputy mayor was not eligible to be considered in the race in the first place.”
According to the party’s constitution, Article 5.5.2 (b), “a member should have at least served for five years at district level before contesting any provincial or national post.”
“The fourth respondent [Banda] has no record in serving in any capacity at district level. That much was established in the oral submissions made in this matter. What is alleged is that the fourth respondent was serving somewhere in Bulawayo from the year 2004. The service referred to by the fourth respondent apparently refers to being a card carrying member of the party. It is my view that political parties are creatures established in terms of the express provisions of their constitutions. A political organisation must abide by the clear provisions of its constitution,” reads part of the order.
Being the dictator that Tsvangirai is, he wilfully vetoed Banda’s removal as the chairperson, desecrating a High Court order. It is, therefore, unfathomable and incredulous to read that Gutu from the blue is blaming the foregoing reality on imaginary ZANU PF agents.
Gutu, wake up and smell the coffee! Undemocratic tendencies, coupled their twin, hypocrisy, breed derision from supporters. The opposition has a new player in its unfashionable league.
That player is People First.
ZANU PF is far from the madding opposition crowd, being in the superior league.
The sooner Gutu stops weaving unbelievable spin, the better for his faltering party. It is also not lost on observers that due to the waning fortunes of that party in Bulawayo, and indeed the country, MDC-T has now resorted to using small venues which are easier to fill, to keep a facade of popular support.
Unfortunately, the same meetings are being poorly attended, which gives insight into why the MDC-T is now broke with donors shunning it.
A story in the aforementioned edition of the NewsDay is instructive telling the world that, “MDC-T in red, begs for donor support.” The story indicates that the MDC-T had extended its begging bowel to the Fishmonger group, a grouping of diplomats based in Zimbabwe, but without any joy. The reason — that party reportedly raised $1.2 million in 2015 which is unaccounted for, as well as the realisation by the Fishmonger group that the MDC-T would never deliver regime change on its own. The group is now arm-twisting that party to dialogue with People First pursuant to forging an ill-fated alliance to fight ZANU PF.
The chickens are coming home to roost, and the likes of Obert Gutu should be alive to this reality and not live in the cuckooland and neverland of the MDC-T being “the largest and most popular political party in the country” blah blah blah.