Chamisa fighting against internal democracy for power
On Monday this week, President Mnangagwa attended the Zanu PF Politburo meeting convened to discuss the curricula vitae (CVs) submitted by the party’s members who intended to participate in the primary elections.
For President Mnangagwa, nothing is as important as ensuring that all internal democratic processes such as elective conferences and congress, both at provincial and national levels, are held so that grassroots party members can get an opportunity to select their leaders.
This is the reason why the Politburo meeting, which is usually held on a Wednesday, had to be brought forward in view of the urgency and importance of primary elections in Zanu PF’s very democratic way of selecting its candidates for the harmonised elections expected any time this year.
Zanu PF treasurer-general, Cde Patrick Chinamasa revealed last week that the response to national Political Commissar Dr Mike Bimha’s call for the submission of CVs the previous week had been unusually overwhelming.
This resulted in the Commissariat Department having to defer the primary elections which had been slated for March 18 to allow it to sift through the thousands of CVs and for the Politburo to evaluate the process before aspiring primary elections candidates got the go ahead to participate in the internal polls.
The unusually huge interest in and the very high number of aspiring candidates was an endorsement of Zanu PF’s internal democracy systems and confidence in the party’s leadership.
The opposition leadership and its external handlers and funders were shocked out of their skins by the very high number of young people who are interested in serving their country, people and nation as councillors and legislators.
They were shocked as young Zanu PF members disabused the opposition and other detractors of their grossly misplaced notion that the ruling party was not democratic and was unpopular.
The opposition leadership could not believe their eyes and ears when they saw young celebrities like popular musician Sandra Ndebele throwing her hat into the ring for the primary elections.
They were taken aback when they saw young businessmen like Farai Jere joining the race to represent the people in his Murehwa West home area in Parliament.
The youths’ interest proved to the opposition and other haters that Zanu PF is not an old people’s party.
What unsettled the opposition leadership the most was the fact that their myth and claim that the majority of young Zimbabweans were MDC or Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members were exposed as mere claims born out of their own baseless sense of entitlement to Zimbabweans’ political support.
Anyone, especially CCC, in Zanu PF’s circumstances, would easily disenfranchise aspiring primary election candidates by responding to the overwhelming CV numbers by coming up with a selection formula that is convenient for the national leadership at the expense of internal democracy.
The fact that President Mnangagwa and the Politburo were prepared to pour into the heaps of CVs speaks volumes about the Party and its leadership’s commitment to the sacrosanct principle of democracy, whose foundation is internal democratic processes.
This has demonstrated how seriously Zanu PF is taking this year’s watershed election.
A glance across the political divide into the opposition camp tells a totally different story.
At the MDC-T, the leader, Douglas Mwonzora, is battling to stall the impending elections by approaching the courts to hold the polls in abeyance until the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) carries out a new delimitation exercise and submits a new report following complaints mainly by the US Embassy in Zimbabwe through its project, Team Pachedu and others.
Those who are afraid of subjecting themselves to the electorate through elections will always come up with excuses.
Nothing aptly describes Mwonzora’s behaviour more than William Shakespeare’s character, Julius Caesar’s statement: “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death, but once” in Act II, Scene 2 of a play of the same name.
Across the opposition, since announcing the formation of what Professor Jonathan Moyo has described most appropriately as a secret society in January last year, Nelson Chamisa, who leads the CCC opposition outfit, has proved to the world that to him, entrenching political power and concentrating it on himself is more important than the hallowed principle of internal democracy.
In fact, to Chamisa, democracy – whether internal or national – is not important.
That is the reason why he dropped the noun “democracy” or the adjective “democratic” from the name of the new outfit when Mwonzora cornered him into dropping the name MDC Alliance arguing that it was the name of an alliance forged by the late former MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and leaders of other opposition parties.
Unlike Zanu PF which has a sound ideology and a constitution in place, since last year Chamisa has been frustrating the internal and external calls for the holding of an inaugural elective congress, the adoption of a sound meaningful ideology and the putting in place of leadership structures.
This is because he fears that the Tendai Biti-led Maruva Cabal in the party will use the congress to wrest the control of the party from him.
This has seen him systematically elbowing away senior party officials like Chalton Hwende in preference for youths like Gift “Ostallos” Siziba and Takudzwa Ngadziore who are too excited to be around him to plot anything against him on their own unless used by someone.
Chamisa has been explaining his undemocratic behaviour by lamely and strangely claiming that he is not holding an elective congress because he fears that Zanu PF will use the event to infiltrate the party.
The world knows that the CCC does not need Zanu PF’s infiltration because Chamisa and his Kitchen Cabinet of Fadzayi Mahere and a few others are doing a splendid job of demolishing the outfit from within and it is a matter of time before it implodes and splits.
Chamisa’s position against internal democracy has posed a serious hurdle in the selection of CCC candidates for this year’s polls.
With no structures in place, the party cannot organise for the selection of the candidates.
The most logical and conventional way of doing this is holding primary elections, but Chamisa will have none of that fearing that Biti will beat him in getting the most loyalists into local authority councils and Parliament.
Chamisa has come up with a grotesque political contraption called community consensus method of candidate selection.
Going by the term, one readily assumes that it is a method that places the community of CCC members at the centre so that they can choose their preferred candidates, but nothing is further from the truth.
The question that arises is: which structures organise the communities in the absence of party structures? Which constitution guides the so-called communities in the selection process?
The bottom line is that the community is, in fact, a euphemism for Chamisa himself as in the end every candidate will have to get his blessing to contest in the polls.
The social media and opposition activities on the ground already show that some senior party members are concentrating their voter registration campaigns in the areas they intend to stand in.
Last Saturday, Mahere was at the Avondale Shopping Centre in Harare distributing yellow flyers carrying information on the registration centres in the wards that make up the Mount Pleasant constituency.
Maureen Kademaunga has been splashing on Twitter images of herself campaigning in the Sunningdale constituency where she has obtained Chamisa’s go ahead despite being not a resident of the suburb. One is not surprised by Chamisa’s behaviour.
During the run up to the May 2019 MDC Alliance congress, Chamisa would personally oversee some of the provincial conferences to ensure that his preferred candidates as opposed to the most popular candidates prevailed.
He directed that some of the meetings be held at night to ensure that he succeeded in his undemocratic enterprise.
His aim was to ensure that Douglas Mwonzora – his then main nemesis – did not get his own loyalists into key positions.
Although a few young people in the CCC publicly defend Chamisa’s strange animal called community consensus on social media, in private conversations some of them openly admit being frustrated by his brand of politics.
The high number of young Zanu PF members who have been using social media to indicate their intention to participate in their Party’s primary polls has caused anger among CCC youths.
Chamisa has been quick to report to the world that Government is shrinking the democratic space in Zimbabwe, when that is far from the truth.
Yet the truth is that if anyone is wilfully shrinking the democratic space, it is Chamisa who is foisting his cronies like Mahere, Kademaunga and many others without consulting constituencies.
In the absence of an elective congress, a constitution and structures, the concept of a political community is one big glaring farce.
The whole concept is reduced to political community confusion which Chamisa created for use in ensuring that he maintains stranglehold of the party by picking as his party’s candidates for the forthcoming polls people who are loyal to him.
He has become so obsessed with power that he is unashamedly prepared to toss out of the window the principle of democracy together with those in the party who support it.
Given Chamisa’s strange way of preparing for the polls, it is not surprising that he and his party are in for another dazzling and dizzying defeat at the hands of President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.
This is because, contrary to the opposition and other detractors’ claims that Zanu PF is anti-democracy, it is Chamisa and his hangers-on who are in the trenches waging a war against both internal and national democracy.