8 September 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC-T's Blundering Raises Eyebrows

BLUNDERS which the MDC-T has been making since losing the July 31 elections to Zanu PF have now become an embarrassment and put to question the credibility of top party officials, analysts have said.

Only last week, the party was forced to make a U-turn on the appointment of mayors who are non-councillors. The MDC-T had to withdraw its application to the Electoral Court after realising it had approached the wrong court.

It has also invited the wrath of judges, after party leader and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai openly accused them of being biased in his electoral petition challenging President Robert Mugabe's victory.

But the party continues to approach the same courts it has no faith in.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure said the blunders being made by the MDC-T were a manifestation of the deeper problems within the party.

He said the party was still in a state of trauma after it lost elections resulting in it making mistake after mistake.

"They are suffering from post-election traumatic stress disorder. The problems are a reflection of a leadership trying to recover from that trauma," said Masunungure. "They cannot think clearly and act rationally. They can be forgiven but not when you commit one blunder after another."

He said any ordinary person would have known that the issue of selection of mayors had nothing to do with the Electoral Court.

"There is a lot of confusion and gnashing of teeth. They cannot act rationally and clearly. People are failing to understand what is going on," said Masunungure.

He said it would take some time for the MDC-T to recover from this "traumatic" experience.

"The worry though is the phenomenon reflects a party in considerable decay at leadership level," said the UZ lecturer.

"They need to quickly recuperate from that traumatic experience of losing massively, otherwise their credibility and capacity to attract sympathisers will be undermined."

He said some of the MDC-T sympathisers were already saying the party deserved to lose.

"They are saying if the party can't act right what would have happened when it came to policies if they had captured state power. They need to quickly get their act together, otherwise they risk becoming irrelevant," said Masunungure.

Political analyst, Clever Bere said the blunders being made showed confusion and lack of strategy on the part of the MDC-T.

He said this also exposed indecisiveness on the part of Tsvangirai, as well as confirming his already proven shortcomings.

Bere said the party always rushed to do things without carefully considering the consequences.

"One day they go to the moon claiming the false Sadc Maputo victory. The next day they are attacking Sadc," he said.

"Tsvangirai rushes to claim that he is responsible for co-ordinating election related issues on behalf of the government. The following day he is crying foul on the very same elections he claimed he was in charge of.He goes around claiming Mugabe is not as bad as he had thought; now he is claiming otherwise."

Bere was of the view that the MDC-T, particularly Tsvangirai, appeared to be seeking advice from the wrong people.

"They have their own selfish interest, which I believe motivates them more than the people's interest," he said.

"Lawyers by their very nature are motivated by their interests. Why wouldn't they have advised him in the first place that under the new Constitution, a mayor should have been elected by the people in that constituency?"

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku said it was surprising that the MDC-T wanted to appoint mayors using the Urban Councils Act which has now been overridden by the new constitution.

Madhuku said the confusion over the interpretation of law by the MDC-T proved that the new constitution was not written properly.

He said the fact that the MDC-T did not know which courts to approach showed a lack of clarity on the new Constitution.

"The truth of the matter is this Constitution is bad. A proper Constitution should be clear," said Madhuku.

He said the new Constitution gave too much power to Mugabe.

Madhuku said the country was hanging in the balance with no government in place for over a month, as the new Constitution does not give a timeframe for the appointment of a cabinet.

"The MDCs did a disservice to the nation by claiming that the new Constitution is good," said Madhuku, whose NCA campaigned for a "No" vote during the March Constitutional referendum.

WE HAVE SHREWD LAWYERS- MWONZORA

MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora denied his party was being poorly advised.

He said the MDC-T was very knowledgeable in law and insisted that there was no confusion over the interpretation of the constitution

Mwonzora, a former Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson, said there was nothing wrong with the new constitution but the only problem was failure to implement its provisions.

He added that the difference in interpretation of the constitution was political.

Mwonzora said the Electoral Court was wrong in refusing to hear the MDC-T's mayoral petition.

"We went to the Electoral Court because this dispute involves the election of mayors. It also involves the identity of those who can elect them," Mwonzora said." The Electoral Court refused to hear us saying we must approach it's next door neighbour [High Court]. We simply complied to avoid argument and have now filed our application in the High Court".

He believes that Zanu PF was putting spanners along the way of the MDC-T to weaken the areas controlled by the party.

Mwonzora said Section 265 (2) of the Constitution simply stated that all members of local authorities must be elected by registered voters. Councillors, he added, were registered voters and could therefore elect a mayor from outside.

The MDC-T has a "battalion" of lawyers amongst its top ranks. These include the likes of Secretary-general Tendai Biti, Mwonzora and former deputy ministers, Obert Gutu and Tongai Matutu.

The party has also been undiplomatic in the way it criticised Sadc and the African Union on their position over Zimbabwe's disputed elections.

The MDC-T has also been attacked over the way it handled the special ballot paper, allegedly discovered in a bin. This has proved costly to deputy party

chairperson, Morgan Komichi, who is now facing charges of tampering with a ballot and has been languishing in prison for over a month now.

The party has also criticised last week's election of Jacob Mudenda as new Speaker of the National Assembly.

But the same MDC-T endorsed his recent appointment as Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairperson, not knowing that he was still a Zanu PF central committee member.

eport

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