20 April 2018

Zimbabwe: Khupe Vs Chamisa - 'Worthless Ideology Against Violent Populism'

To die for an idea, it is unquestionably noble, but how much nobler it would be if men died for the ideas that were true, once said American journalist Henry Louis Mencken in 1919.

They say when bullets start flying, politics go out the window. Violence and intolerance in the MDC-T, if left unchecked by the divided leadership of the opposition party, might threaten national peace.

The party's so-called vanguard has threatened violence against anyone who challenges their populist leader Mr Nelson Chamisa.

In the past, the opposition party blamed its splits and chaotic fights at rallies on the ruling zanu-pf party, but now, with a potential split ahead, their actions continue to vindicate the liberation movement.

James Maridadi, MDC-T's Tafara-Mabvuku constituency representative, used to throw tantrums at the management of political continuity of zanu-pf in the post-Mugabe era. His false analysis painted an explosive situation in the event of former President Robert Mugabe's departure. Under the new dispensation, there was a peaceful transition, both in zanu-pf and the nation at large. Sleeping dogs have been let to lie!

Today, Maridadi is as silent as a shadow, as the question of leadership in the MDC-T puts them in quandary. They are divided over a "legitimate leader" and a "populist, people's favourite", Dr Khupe and Mr Chamisa respectively.

The late evangelist Myles Munroe once said: "True leadership is measured by what happens after you die.

"This is why true leaders don't invest in buildings, they invest in people. If everything you have done dies with you, you are a failure."

The question of leadership in the MDC-T was supposed to have been addressed before the death of its founding leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

While he was touted as being a great leader with many successes, according to Munroe, Mr Tsvangirai was a failure because "success without a successor is failure".

"The greatest act of true leaders is mentoring," added Munroe.

Former MDC-T national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo last month had this to say: "The MDC-T was formed on the basis of constitutionalism, but, and may his soul rest in peace, (Morgan) Tsvangirai had unfortunately given himself powers that were not there in the constitution, resulting in rolling conflicts and now the split. Welshman Ncube (MDC), Tendai Biti (PDP), Elton Mangoma (RDZ) and many others at some point once quit the party citing the same reasons of unconstitutionalism on the part of our departed leader."

Succession management has always been a problem in the MDC-T. The diagnosis to the fight for the leadership between Dr Khupe and Mr Chamisa is in the party's name, MDC-T. It is for (Morgan) Tsvangirai, not the people as they purport.

With an election on the horizon, it is not at best for both of the fighting factions. It is a case of who has control and it seems Mr Chamisa has control of one faction that is accused of an unconstitutional power grab, while on the other Dr Khupe is a "legitimate" leader.

Constitutions are made for purposes of securing, protecting, promoting good governance, accountability and welfare of all citizens, those governed.

Chamisa did a political "smart move and seized power by exploiting the grey areas of the MDC constitution".

He then regularised his takeover by legalising his position. However, he failed to neutralise Dr Khupe into exile and submission.

This year, not everyone wants zanu-pf to lose the mandate to protect the valued principles that sustain Zimbabwe, and not everyone intends to vote the opposition in. It is impossible to compare a dying movement to a floating one!

As Dr Khupe and Mr Chamisa take their confrontations through the courts, it is hard to think that anyone would feel safe in a combat situation, even their allies.

Mr Elias Mudzuri and Mr Douglas Mwonzora, once touted as Dr Khupe's minions, no longer feel safe as they remain silent for fear of losing posts or in the belief they might be part of a team perceived to be winning. Perhaps the two are fighting from within.

Only Mr Obert Gutu has apparently been on Dr Khupe's side, charging that he is not part of "coup plotters".

Dr Khupe has vowed that she will not bow to male chauvinism. However, her views seem not to be holding in the MDC-T and do not work in their patriarchal setting where men are uplifted as leaders by both social contract and social construct.

However, as Dr Khupe fights "coup plotters", people should not be unmindful that her biggest problem was when she disengaged by boycotting meetings before Tsvangirai's death. She missed meetings claiming she was the rightful leader and Tsvangirai did nothing and left the mess unresolved.

Speaking ahead of her faction's MDC-T congress, Dr Khupe signalled that she had not denied having the leadership post contested, even if her main challenger was Mr Chamisa.

"The real MDC-T will have its congress. If I am elected leader I will stand as a presidential candidate. If not, then the people would have spoken. I had no problem with going for congress and Chamisa standing against me, but he and his faction don't respect the rule of law," she said.

After all these events in the MDC-T, one piece of advice for would-be leaders, there is need to read some history.

Between the two contestants, one is going to be buried politically. Whether you fight or tactically retreat for a while, it is essential to engage others right from the start to join the battle to put your career back on track.

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