Home » Governance » MDC-T, Allies in Rare Confession – Admit Zanu-PF’s Victory Deserved – Western Envoys in Limbo

Ongoing squabbles in MDC-T have brought about rare moments of candour with several senior opposition figures and the party’s Western backers blaming the party’s cataclysmic loss to Zanu-PF in last year’s harmonised elections on the inferiority of its brand and message and the appeal of Zanu-PF and its message to the electorate.The admission by British think-tank Chatham House, chair of the MDC-T guardian council Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, party secretary-general Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe ambassador to Senegal Trudy Stevenson, an MDC member, and the British Guardian newspaper has left Western envoys, among them Mr Bruce Wharton (US), Ms Deborah Bronnert (Britain) and Matthew Neuhaus (Australia) who have refused to endorse Zanu-PF’s victory with egg streaming down their faces.

Ms Bronnert, in particular, was exposed during the elections after telling British media that 10 000 voters had been assisted to vote at one polling station, claims that were dismissed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission prompting her to demand an apology from the MDC-T which had fed her the fibs. The apology was tendered in writing.

The Anglo-Saxon alliance has sought to justify its continued snactions on Zimbabwe to what it claimed was a crisis of legitimacy stemming from the harmonised elections.

The MDC-T’s Damascene moments come from a stridently anti-Tsvangirai faction that is disgruntled not only with the party leader’s dictatorial actions, but also his inability to win elections since 2000.

Zanu-PF romped to victory in the harmonised elections amassing197 of the 270 seats in the National Assembly, while President Mugabe garnered over 61,09 percent of the Presidential vote to Mr Tsvangirai’s 33,94 percent.

Zanu-PF also dominates local government with 1 501 wards to MDC-T’s 442.

There are 92 local authorities countrywide consisting of 1 958 wards.

The African Union, Sadc, Comesa, the ACP countries and progressive people all over the world endorsed the harmonised elections as a true reflection of the will of Zimbabweans with the AU and Sadc electing President Mugabe to be deputy chairpersonship of the blocs, making him incoming Sadc chair in August and AU chair in January next year.

Chatham House, in a report titled “Zimbabwe International Re-engagement: The Long Haul to Recovery”, said Zanu-PF is a dominant force in Zimbabwe’s politics and would remain so for a long time.

” The reality is that Zanu-PF, which was the senior partner in the Government of National Unity, is the dominant force in politics and — despite its internal frictions — will remain so for some time to come,” reads the report.

MDC-T guardian council member, Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, told the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper on Friday that the blame for MDC-T’s poll loss lay squarely with the opposition party.

“We have failed to admit that we did not live up to expectations. For me, I would say that rigging would only be 10 percent of the problem, and 90 percent was our fault,” he said.

Mr Sipepa Nkomo’s revelations dovetailed with Mr Biti’s admission at a SAPES Trust Policy Dialogue last month that Zanu-PF prevailed in the harmonised elections by virtue of its superior campaign message.

“We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu-PF was selling practical realities. ‘We (Zanu PF) are going to give you a farm’, it’s there. ‘We are going to give you US$5 000 through (Saviour) Kasukuwere’s ministry’.”

He went on, “I think we didn’t do well in 2013. A message is a slogan, it’s mascara and it’s a makeup. What is the substance? This is where we need to articulate an alternative value system. What was our position on indigenisation? We had JUICE, yes, it was good but trying to explain it to Mai Ezra in Chendambuya, you understand what I am saying?

“So the issue of articulating an alternative discourse which is walked and lived is very important,” Mr Biti said.

Zimbabwe ambassador to Senegal, Ms Trudy Stevenson — who was seconded by the MDC during the inclusive Government, wrote on her Twitter that the MDC had long died ahead of elections

“The MDC we created in 1999 and launched in 2000 is long dead. I do not see any group or party calling itself MDC being able to re-ignite that fire and capture the hearts and minds of the majority of the people. The name has been too badly tarnished, and too abused,” she said.

The British paper, The Guardian, in an article titled ” Morgan Tsvangirai failed Zimbabwe, and now he must go,” last week said the MDC-T leader’s paucity of vision and numerous personal scandals had cost the MDC-T over the years.

“Even though widespread reports suggest that there was some element of vote-rigging by Zanu-PF, it probably wasn’t necessary voters returned to Mugabe’s fold in droves, giving him undiluted control once again. It was a failure of epic proportions for Zimbabwe’s opposition – and specifically for the man who leads it. Now, Tsvangirai is facing the consequences,” the paper adding that, ” Zanu-PF will never be defeated by an MDC faction.”

There, however, were no widespread reports of vote-rigging as alleged by the Guardian with only the western powers, that were barred from observing the elections on account of their bias, refusing to accept the outcome of the elections which were endorsed by all observer teams.

In its report, Chatham House said it recognised that “although the electoral legitimacy debate will continue to divide Zimbabweans, the reality is that Zanu-PF, which was the senior partner in the Government of National Unity, is the dominant force in politics and – despite its internal frictions — will remain so for some time to come”.

Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri of Midlands State University said MDC-T was vindicating Zanu PF.

“It exonerates Zanu-PF from the criticism it has been receiving from MDC-T and its international backers. It is the kind of honesty which would not have been seen if there was no infighting … All these issues they are bringing now were hidden from the people.”

Dr Mhiripiri said the about-turn showed the need for politicians to be held accountable for their words and actions.

He also called on the West to re-engage Zanu-PF given that their agents were admitting defeat.

Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe, Bishop Trevor Manhanga, said more people in the opposition were likely to start admitting the truth.

“I am happy these people are now seeing light. They knew from the beginning that Zanu-PF defeated them. They have been championing a foreign agenda and their masters would not allow them to accept defeat.

“Now that they are fighting each other and that more and more outsiders continue to give Zanu-PF the thumbs-up, we are likely to see more MDC officials abandoning the Western agenda. Now that their people are admitting defeat, the West should own up and accept defeat as well,” he said.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Dr Charity Manyeruke said the MDC-T’s admissions were simply confirmation of what many people already knew.

“Zanu-PF has the majority support in Zimbabwe and its policies resonate very well with the needs of the people. MDC-T lost the elections because they are a party which does not have an ideology. It lacks unity of purpose and this is confirmed by the events taking place at the moment,” Dr Manyeruke said.

Another commentator, Mr Christopher Gwatidzo, said it was clear that the people were with Zanu-PF and the West must recognise its legitimacy, in addition to removing illegal sanctions on the country.

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Aldo Del Ariccia said their position on the elections remained unchanged nonetheless.

“Chatham House is entitled to their research, but our position is the same and we cannot comment any further,” he said.

Source : The Herald