MDC: Imperial project failing to grow from student activism Nelson Chamisa (right) and Tendai Biti

Ranga Mataire
Writing Back
Developments in the country’s opposition MDC Alliance outfit are symptomatic of a deep leadership malaise whose roots can be traced to the birth of the then MDC.

The leadership wrangles are also reflective of the inherent dearth of strategic thinking, primarily as a result of failure to transcend student activism.

Something important needs to be said and said repeatedly. For the benefit of future generations, we need to say things as they are.

The main reason why the MDC will never lead Zimbabwe is simple. The party is an imperial project, a characterisation that reviles majority of Zimbabweans, including some people in our neighbouring African countries.

Who does not know that it was in Zimbabwe that Western powers fine-tuned an alternative strategy for regime change by coalescing local proxies from civil society, trade union and the academia? Who could forget how some racist white former commercial farmers came out on television brandishing some cheques and declaring their unwavering support for the MDC?

Time does not rub-off history.

Many had hoped that the post-Tsvangirai leadership was going to refashion the opposition party as a pro-African and home-grown entity. But any such hopes faded as the new leadership has decided to nourish and perpetuate that reprehensible legacy.

However, more interesting is how even the West has grown weary of its surrogates. Their preferred party has simply failed to grow from student politics into something the West can invest in. This is why, in February, the American pro-establishment think tank — Rand Corporation — released a report saying America should put in more money into “professionalising” the MDC.

It is not so long ago that the trio of Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and one Dewa Mavhinga went to the United States, on that trip of shame, and cried their throats dry for sanctions to stay.

Whatever foibles the current administration can be accused of, they aren’t comparable to the treacherous machinations of those in leadership of the MDC Alliance, which has a penchant for shouting for pennies like the student leaders they still seem to be.

Where on earth can one find an opposition leader boasting of gallivanting around the world “tightening screws” for the economic prospects of the country to remain dire?

Unlike those who have tended to follow Nelson Chamisa and other current MDC leaders blindly without any background knowledge about them, I can be blunt because I have known them for a very long time since their days at Harare Polytechnic, University  of Zimbabwe and other colleges.

One thing that I have constantly observed about Chamisa, and other MDC leaders, is their failure to transcend from student activism to national politics.

For Chamisa, immaturity seems to be the dominant mark of his leadership and lack of self-control his leitmotif. He seems unable to focus and this can be seen in his difficulty in sticking to facts. He is given to impulsive outbursts, to the extent of calling his supporters stupid. All these are hallmarks associated with student leaders, not leaders of State.

Like student leaders campaigning for SRC presidency, the man has a fabulist assessment of himself, given to self-praise. Take for example his statement on his birthday in February: “But I have a confession to make . . . I am a perfectionist. I am difficult to please. I even hardly satisfy myself.”

We are not sure where his perfectionism is displayed, because what is visible to any objective eye is someone who qualifies to be an all-time holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a mental bias that makes individuals with low ability at a task overestimate their ability.

Immature politicians camouflage their lack of depth by high-sounding phrases and words. Student leaders that have grown from student activism will have a fair assessment of how others view them. Chamisa, instead, fails to see that the very people surrounding him are the same people who gleefully smile in private as he makes one gaffe after another. It is his loudest loyalists who undermine him in private.

Chamisa still has age on his side, enough to make a lot of things right and salvage some decency. He needs first to abide by the Supreme Court ruling; learn to stay in his lane and stop puerile antics of masquerading as a Head of State.

But most importantly, and we know it’s a hard sell, he needs to refashion the MDC as a wholly home-grown entity and not a regime change apparatus. He needs to ensure the MDC becomes more than a club of former student leaders.

And another thing; get rid of the wackadoodles around you. These wackadoodles are doing more harm than good. They have managed to mould you into a delusional dupe. It’s never too late to take a different route.

You Might Also Like