Home » Governance » MDC-T Conflict, a Self-Correcting Process [opinion]

SOME Zimbabweans are worried about the events happening in the mdc factions where the leaders and supporters have been crossing floors, beating and counter expelling each other. All these things are unfortunate because, especially violence, they are not part of the democratic ideals that the mdcs say they value and uphold.

However, the current situation was inevitable. What is happening now is that the political process is correcting itself much like in business where a market corrects itself when stock prices decline after a temporary sharp rise in prices. The sharp rise is usually temporary and driven by mass psychology on the part of investors who anticipate gains. The mass psychology drives the stock prices high until a certain point where buying slows down.

At this point, some investors will feel that the stock has reached premium price, triggering a sell-off in order to gain a good profit. As investors dispose of the stocks, shares start to tumble and a market correction occurs.

From the analogy above, the first thing to notice is that the investors have a common objective of making an immediate return in the form of profit.

However, what they lack is a shared broader purpose of preserving market equilibrium or foster steady growth in stock prices, which is in sync with the real economy.

Like the mass psychology that characterises the market, the then mdc brought together people from different walks of life under the objective of removing President Mugabe and zanu-pf from power. The problem with this mass psychology is that it was not based on a shared ideology that articulated a viable policy framework should President Mugabe and zanu-pf be taken out of power.

The various parties put little or no ideological compass to guide their politics. All the groups ignored their differences just because they were united by one temporary idea, like profit for investors, removing President Mugabe and zanu-pf from power. As the movement started facing challenges associated with a maturing party, such as the need to articulate a viable policy, not the “Mugabe must go” mantra, and competition for positions, underlying differences emerged. As differences emerged, there was little or no ideological foundation to hold together the divergent groups that constituted the mdc.

A group that had spiritedly called for the ouster of zanu-pf and President Mugabe for the supposed trampling of democracy principles under the much publicized democracy agenda was exposed as a sham. Morgan Tsvangirai who was the face of the so-called democracy agenda was, in fact, guilty of closing democratic space. It is reported widely that Tsvangirai was engaging in undemocratic tendencies, such as operating a “Kitchen Cabinet” and sending his people to beat any person who was perceived to be challenging his leadership.

Of course, it is known that this caused the 2005 split with Professor Welshman Ncube, as well as, the formation of several factions. The split ended up with mdc-t, Ncube retaining the legal name of the original mdc, then Job Sikhala formed mdc 99, while Arthur Mutambara, after a fall out with Ncube formed his own mdc.

Meanwhile, the original mdc’s key partner, the National Constitutional Assembly, a one issue organisation, the writing of a new constitution, broke away from the mdc-t accusing it of undemocratic tendencies such as violence and for supporting the approach adopted in developing the current Constitution.

Cracks had been showing. But buoyed by g showings in one or two elections, the marriage of convenience retained some semblance of sustenance, until the July 2013 where the opposition parties suffered a heavy defeat to zanu-pf. Whether the splits were good or bad, it highlighted fundamental differences existing among these groups. Members of the mdcs were breaking along values, beliefs social standings, etc.

The renewal team, which is calling for Tsvangirai to step down, is generally run by professionals and academics, while that of Tsvangirai maintains generally blue collar leadership and support. There is another general pattern that emerged where one party, especially the MDC-T uses violence as a means to deal with dissent while the renewal team and Ncube prefer engagement.

The splits demonstrate that there was no ideological congruency among all these various civic and political groups and individuals at inception of the original mdc, but a collective motivated by merely removing President Mugabe and Zanu-PF from power and then taking over. It should, therefore not be a surprise to see the mdcs further break into different factions. It is an inevitable evolutionary process that the party needs to go through as it further matures.

The challenge is to manage it effectively. The fragmentation process will likely end when all mdcs supporters have aligned themselves with camps that share similar characteristics.

Source : The Herald