South Africa’s infant terrible Julius Malema once remarked that there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics. This observation seems to aptly apply to Zimbabwe’s present political situation as the country trudges ahead for fresh elections expected to lay the ghost of the coalition government. Herein unfolds the story of Zimbabwe:

Finally, it looks like political parties in Zimbabwe are getting what they want judging by the recent developments around the constitutional  agreements where ZANU-PFs and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are campaigning for a Yes vote ahead of the 16 March 26 referendum. Who would have thought that these former enemies will come to an agreement at the end? Surprisingly enough, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai wants harmonised elections held no later than July this year. This is beside the fact that there are still huge political differences on how to go about finalising disputes emanating from reforms such as the security sector and the media, among others. By the look of it, I don’t see how these will be agreed upon before the likely proposed elections dates. As if this is enough, PM Tsvangirai seems to believe that Mugabe will resign after elections, paving way for a younger

"Said GPA was created to help ZANU PF"

“Said GPA was created to help ZANU PF”

leader whom we don’t know yet whether it’s going to be him or someone from ZANU-PF. Both ZANU PF and the two formations of the MDC believe they will win elections they claim will be peaceful. Both Mugabe and the premier have been preaching peace, giving false hopes the country is destined for a peaceful election. However, some of us are still doubting Thomases as we don’t believe the proposed dates for both the referendum and elections are feasible for Zimbabwe to hold elections that will be accepted by everyone as free and fair. I know that my beliefs will be seen as being immature by the main political parties’ supporters who seem to have concluded that the timing is right. While it is still a surprise how the deal on the constitution was made, we are yet to see how the parties will conduct themselves in campaigning for the yes vote and later, national elections. Already, there are reports of people getting arrested after gathering to discuss the proposed constitution draft. One wonders how this can be the case given that the people in power believe the nation will endorse the draft.

Is it a win for ZANU PF?

When presenting his organisational report to the 53rd African National Congress Conference in December last year, the ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe said the power sharing arrangement in Zimbabwe has created space for the people of Zimbabwe to draft their constitution that is not overseen by the British. He went on to say more importantly, the space was created for ZANU-PF to recoup some lost ground. As the mediators in Zimbabwe, the ANC led government seemed to be saying the whole Global Political Agreement was designed to help ZANU-PF get back on its feet and judging by Mugabe’s recent confidence, it looks like this mission has been accomplished. Last week’s Sunday Times in South Africa carried a story which seemed to  suggest that Mugabe was up to win elections without coercing people, meaning that ZANU-PF is once again the popular party in Zimbabwe. The  story seemed to sell ZANU-PF as a party that has gone back to serve  the wider population through its land reform programme and the recent indigenisation process which seeks to empower people by forcing foreign companies to surrender much of their shares to local Zimbabweans. Also in the news were stories how the European Union is set to ease travel restrictions and sanctions against ZANU-PF and companies aligned to them. Notable to this development, were reports the EU intended removing the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation from the sanctions list. All this is said to happen despite the fact that transparency is still foreign to the behaviour of ZMDC. All the above, combined with the recent moves by the MDCs to find a compromise with ZANU-PF towards rushing the nation into a referendum and elections are spelling nothing other than victory for Mugabe and his ZANU PF.

What then is in store for the future?

What is yet to be seen in Zimbabwe is whether Mugabe and the MDCs will stand by their promise of conducting themselves in a peaceful manner. We are also not certain whether the rushed elections will be disputed. We still have a shambolic voters’ roll and a lethargic Zimbabwe Electoral Commission suspected of always rigging elections on behalf of ZANU-PF. If it so happens that the elections will be rigged, I wonder whether the MDCs will go back to the West and call for new sanctions against ZANU-PF. Zimbabwe is a mineral rich nation and I believe that Mugabe might get away with murder this time around given the fact that the international community is also in the queue for mineral deals. My suggestion is that the MDCs to get act together before elections in order for them to have leverage to fight any disputes that may arise after elections. Should the MDCs lose, an  opportunity for newer parties will be created and I bet Zimbabweans will take it.

Next week, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe will be turning 89 and I so happen to share a birthday with him. While he cuts his cake in Harare, I will be cutting mine somewhere in exile. There seem to be no shame from Mugabe that at his age, he still wants to continue ruling the country, taking it to further ruin. Pope Benedict XVI, a catholic like Mugabe announced his retirement on Monday this week, paving the way to handover the baton to someone younger. But it does not need a rocket scientist to predict that Mugabe, as he celebrates his old age next Thursday, he will be insisting on standing in the presidential race. He might use the occasion to announce

Mugabe's victims

Mugabe’s victims

what he thinks are his fresh and new ideas on how Zimbabwe will move forward. We all know that Mugabe is just gearing himself to die in office because he is afraid of all the blood that he has in his hands.

Lest you forget, President Mugabe is directly responsible for murdering more than 20 000 Ndebele-speaking Zimbabweans in Matabeleland during the early 1980s political disturbances. He directed the North Korean-trained Fifth brigade to murder innocent civilians in Matabeleland and its hinterland. So he is afraid of leaving power because under his watch, corruption has been left to ruin a

As elections loom

But as we approach elections, there are two major concerns that seem to threaten the staging of free and fair pools. The harassment of human rights workers and journalists has been intensifying in the past few days, raising fears of the return of the dark days of 2008. Police on Monday intensified what the civil society organisations perceived as a systematic crackdown on civil society organisations by raiding the offices of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and seized several documents and other materials. Five members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police stormed the ZPP offices in Harare’s Hillside suburb, where they searched the organisation’s offices for

Thinking about the death sentence?

Thinking about the death sentence?

“subversive material and illegal immigrants”. In run-up to the 2008 elections, state security agents raided the same office and later arrested its boss human rights activist Jestina Mukoko. She was held incommunicado for nearly a month where she was subjected to inhuman treatment, including being tortured. Freedom of speech is now questionable and one wonders how we are supposed to debate issues that affect us in general. Just last week, a friend of mine was sentenced to six months in prison for allegedly insulting President Mugabe in a suspected pub brawl with ZANU-PF supporters. While it is stated in the Global Political Agreement that the public and private media shall refrain from using abusive language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred or that unfairly undermines political parties and other organisations, I suspect my friend was treated in an unjustly way as witnesses say he was attacked by the said Mugabe supporters and no one seems to know what he said exactly. It is only in Zimbabwe where such things happen. We have become a country where our judiciary is afraid of dealing with real issues like corruption and other illegal practices in favour of dealing with the weaker man on the street that is given no chance to express his feelings about things. Without freedom of speech, there is no chance in hell that the outcome of election results will be accepted as fair.

Will Mugabe say yes?

It looks like Kenya has taken a lead in trying to open politics in Africa. Last week presidential candidates in the forthcoming Kenyan polls participated in a televised public debate that was seen by millions of Kenyan voters. While there may be other problems in the preparation for elections in that country, I think Kenyan politicians should be applauded because they have just given voters a chance to know who amongst them knows what they are talking about and doing. We wait such a day in Zimbabwe when our leaders can agree to take their policies to a public televised debate. Not trying to dismiss Zimbabwe’s leaders, I suspect people like Mugabe are very much afraid of such a move. For many years, they have been protected by a one sided media which only broadcasts what they want to say in their comfortable zones and calling them to a live debate would be a taboo. At his age, I doubt if Mugabe can be able to sustain a heated debate. Part of him may be afraid that questions may raise his high blood pressure which may result in him collapsing and becoming the first president that died in a live public debate. We need those debates as of yesterday.

GPA principals are not Zimbabwe

Posted: February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

The elitist constitutional breakthrough is far from answers to solve Zimbabwe’s problems.

While I appreciate the said constitutional breakthrough by the Global Political Agreement principals, I have reservations that the move was elitist. Zimbabweans spent more than three years collecting important information about how they wish to be governed and their wishes were expected to be put in a referendum without alterations. According to the MDCs earlier statements, there were not supposed to be any negotiations about altering the draft constitution. To my surprise, the very MDCs that many support have come out in support of an altered document, calling the move a major success in history. I may agree that there were compromises made
from all political parties involved but I find it rather disgusting that once again, we have allowed the country’s principals to decide

Mugabe and Mutwambare

Mugabe and Mutwambare

what is important or not on their own. Others may celebrate the breakthrough as victory for the nation but I personally think we are further cultivating a culture where our leaders decide what is good for us without consulting anyone. I know the principals may have been in touch with their aides during this process but it is far too elitist to let them agree on their own without consulting the wider population. We seem to be developing trend of surrendering our loyalty to half backed solutions because we fear if we don’t, things may get worse, something that has not been politically proven.

We have a history in this

The sad thing that comes into my mind is that instead of moving away from the wrong approaches we used when we negotiated our first constitution in Lancaster House (1979), we seem to be falling back into to the same tricks of delaying important issues, something that might come back to haunt us later. In 1979, amongst other issues, we agreed to delay the land issue for about ten years and the

Ncube

Ncube


matter was forgotten until it came back to bite us almost two decades later. Today, there are no guarantees that whoever will be in power in ten years will revisit the changes in the constitution to honour issues that have been pushed back. It is likely that the country may be facing other serious problems that would need attention more than the proposed changes or we may be enjoying stability to the fact that the government of the day may claim that there is no need to go back to constitutional matters. There is no guarantee that the issue of running mates will come into effect ten years from now. It is clear that this issue is very divisive in all political parties and I wonder what makes us think that it won’t be in ten years. While there was agreement to effect the issue of executive powers which proposes to limit the terms of presidency to two five years terms, Mugabe will be dead in ten years and that suits him well. Devolution of powers will only be discussed in ten years, something that comes as a surprise agreement considering how tooth and nail, the MDC led by Ncube was fighting for this issue to be adopted. People made a clear point that they wanted powers to be devolved and I wonder whether this issue will come up again because whoever will be in power is likely to shelve it, using the same claim that Tsvangirai and Mugabe are using: saying it is very divisive. The issue of the attorney general sounds good but I doubt if the attorney general can stop the political madness that our country is facing today.

It has always been Mugabe’s plan

To say we are doomed is the least of description as far as events about the constitution have unfolded. Human rights abuses are far from over. Although challenged, there seem to be no clear direction as to where we are going in light of the so called breakthrough made by principals. The whole talk of breakthrough appears to be a diversion from real issues affecting our political system. We can give our leaders credit but it is difficult to explain why political violence is on the increase. Their word on stopping violence is not

Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai

being listened to by the players on the ground and this renders every other effort useless. We are struggling to repair the economy with our reckless talk as evidenced by the recent Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s comments who said the country has less than US 300 in its coffers. How then is this possible yet our country is home to mineral resources that are worth billions. An elite breakthrough on the constitution is not enough to solve the corruption problems we are facing, something that is gravely the reason why people’s choices are being changed by principals. After those ten years, it should not come as a surprise when we face resistance to revisit some of the issues mentioned above because Zimbabwe has a history of leaders who become too comfortable in their positions, turning a blind eye to people’s pleas. Also, Zimbabweans are a nation that obeys authority and are comfortable with stability even if it is chaotic in nature. Unless we change our nature of how we relate to our leaders, we will not achieve the goal of ultimate democracy we so desire. Ours will be negotiated and compromised for our sake of feeling vulnerable and threatened by political instability. The whole ten year wait on things appears to be a chance given to Mugabe by MDCs to land him a good exit package. Unfortunately, time to rebuild our lives cannot wait and we will feel the effect of letting things go without confronting them.

The debate about the calibre of people to represent us in the next parliament has ensued as talk of elections in Zimbabwe gathers momentum on a daily basis. Although personally, I doubt if elections will be held this year, there are clear signs that both incumbent and aspiring Members of Parliament (MPs)are out in full force, mobilising support to be chosen to represent their respective political parties in the next elections. So the fight is on. For me, rightly or wrongly, this fight seems not to be a legitimate concern to help solve people’s problems but instead a contest to join the gravy train. Those aspiring to be in the next parliament want to line their pockets period. A perusal of the Hansard, the verbatim recording of parliamentary debate, reveals little sophistication in terms of discussions in the present parliament.

Do people know what our MPs are doing?

Different countries have different roles for their MPs but the general consensus is that they represent the interests of their respective constituencies. This entails raising issues affecting their constituents and voting on new laws, among other things. In a constituency, an MP is supposed to hold a ‘surgery’ in his or her office, where local people can pop in to discuss any matter that concerns their constituencies. Generally, MPs are supposed to attend functions, visit schools and businesses and try and meet as many people as

Everybody wants in

Everybody wants in

possible. This should an enable the MPs to at least have an insight and context into issues they may discuss when they return to parliament. If you speak to members of the public about what their MPs are doing, I bet a majority will say they don’t know. It will be interesting to find out how many of our MPs hold surgeries in their communities. Surgeries are supposed to be different from rallies that many of our MPs tend to hold as a way of communicating with constituents. Many people will probably tell you that the fact that Zimbabwe’s democracy is immature, there is little or no consultation processes initiated by our MPs in order to reach out to residents regardless of which political party they belong to. You will be told that ZANU PF MPs talk to ZANU PF people and the MDCs do the same. The unfortunate part here is that at independence, we inherited a system that was biased to one race and the former ruling party ZANU PF was happy to continue enhancing biased tendencies that sought to benefit their members only. As a result, MDCs (at least some members) are left with a feeling that their supporters have been suffering for a long time and they must get the priority of benefits in areas they control. This nature of politics is thus threatening efforts to transform our societies towards better representation which in turn, is a powerful tool for community development. People who live in communities with clearly defined lines of communication and engagement between them and their MPs tend to be better developed in all aspects of life. Thus, while we wait for the elections which I doubt will happen while Mugabe is still alive, we need to use this opportunity and time to prepare our communities to elect people who will have them at heart and most importantly, know what they are doing.

What is important?

For me, the most important thing for communities to consider when electing their MPs is whether the aspiring candidate has the right skills that they need to serve communities in a more satisfactory manner. At most a time, the question of what skills are required is a difficult one because we don’t seem to have tried and tested examples. An example to look at would be to think of parliament as a business that is tasked to deliver targeted profits, in this case, community development. Successful companies don’t just hire people because they are related to the boss or their friends. Instead, they seek to look for different set of skills that will making the company function to meet its targets. This desire for skilled people should not be confused with discrimination but we ought to know that in order for us to live a better life, our MPs must be selected from a pool of people with great leadership and organisational qualities. Today, Zimbabwe is suffering because for many years, ZANU PF’s criteria of selecting MPs have been based on popularity and loyalty to the party leadership. This is why people like Joseph Chinotimba are still influencing national policy direction when in actual fact; they are part of a hired drunken crowd meant to intimidate people towards voting Mugabe. Their actions have served to protect interests of the greedy a ZANU PF top hierarchy who are looting the country’s resources unabated.

Not in ZANU PF alone

This trend of Chinotimbas is not limited to the ZANU PF party alone. We all know that some MPs from both MDCs were elected to

What you can get as an MP..

What you can get as an MP..

parliament because of how much noise they can make against Mugabe. Some of them found their way into parliament because of their loyalty to party leadership. This, I say so because as much as we appreciate the work being done by MDCs, some MPs have nothing to show in their communities. They have been in the media for all wrong reasons take for instance the Morgan Femais of this world and those involved in the Community Development Funds Scandal. I am also told some of them have never uttered a word in parliament while others fail to turn up at all. There are disturbing trends developing again, especially in parties where members are said to be unhappy with the party’s move to parachute candidates to become MPs, for example some based overseas. I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with overseas candidates but we must understand that despite people’s popularities which can help the party win elections, life is very hard as refugees overseas. I am sure some of the said overseas candidates are motivated by benefits and a better life enjoyed by MPs after realising that things are much rosier at home. However, this must not serve a discouraging comment but sometimes we ought to be fair with people who remained at home enduring the pressure and pain while we ran away. There is no doubt things are better at home because when the MDC was formed, some people who are now enjoying benefits as government ministers and MPs were very scared to be part of the struggle but their loyalty has seen them being parachuted to comfort zones.

What parties can do

To help parties select better candidates, I believe parties need to find people which astute leadership qualities which they must demonstrate before they are allowed to contest. Some of the qualities about who should lead us are obvious but I feel there is a need to write about them more often as a reminder for us to demand better things for better days. They include:

•       Mission – Aspiring MPs must know what their mission is. They must demonstrate knowledge of why their party and the community they represent exist. They must have a well thought out (often written) mission describing the purpose of their parties. These need not to be sophisticated, but rather descriptive, clear and understandable.

•       Vision – They must know where their parties and constituencies want to go? Their vision needs to be abstract enough to encourage people to imagine it but concrete enough for followers to see it, understand it and be willing to climb on board to fulfil it.

•       Goal – Aspiring MPs must describe how their presence in parliament is going to achieve their mission and vision for constituencies they will serve and how communities will measure their progress? Like a vision, goals need to be operational; that is specific and measurable. If your output and results can’t be readily measured, then it will be difficult to know if you have achieved your purpose. You may have wasted important resources (time, money, people, and equipment)

•       Competency – MPs must be seen by stakeholders and the public as being experts in their field or an expert in leadership. Unless their constituents see them as highly credentialed-either by academic degree or with specialized experience and capable of leading their communities to success, it will be more difficult for them to be as respected, admired, or followed.

Other skills include communication, interpersonal skills, a “can do, get it done” attitude, inspiration and ambition. The above skills should not serve as a purpose to intimidate or discriminate against a certain class of the people in communities. It does not matter whether you are a banker, professor, journalist or a village politician who some like to despise. Our history and existence tell us that the human race has been continuing to live with success because of our village politicians who long existed before we got promoted to sophistications of educated leaders. It would then be my advice to make sure that we choose our leaders careful as they are the only critical success ingredient of why we do and believe in politics. Mugabe has shown us his side of doing things and we must strive for difference.

This trend of Chinotimbas is not limited to the ZANU PF party alone. We all know that some MPs from both MDCs were elected to parliament because of how much noise they can make against Mugabe. Some of them found their way into parliament because of their loyalty to party leadership. This, I say so because as much as we appreciate the work being done by MDCs, some MPs have nothing to Chinozshow in their communities. They have been in the media for all wrong reasons taking for instance the Morgan Femais of this world and those involved in the Community Development Funds Scandal……………….see more on this week’s Hararesunset on Thursday!

I often clash with some of my Facebook friends about the state of our country where they sometimes argue that Zimbabwe is normal country. Some of them say we are on the right path towards economic and political recovery, something that I very much doubt. Take for example the talk of elections. Our president Robert Mugabe was insisting last year that national elections will be held in March this year. I fail to see how this is possible because as far as I am concerned, elections are only supposed to happen when the constitutional process is completed. As we stand today, the possibility of completing the constitutional process before March, as Mugabe wishes, is far from reality considering the deadlocks that are holding the process. To make matters worse, the country’s coalition government is on record saying they don’t have the money for electoral processes leading to the harmonised election and the election itself. Even MDC T’s Tendai Biti’s timing of having elections in October 2013 are becoming a wishful think because there is nowhere this can be achievable looking at the myriad of issues bedevilling the coalition government. Complexities of funding and general parliamentary debates require more time to deal with issues regarding preparing for elections. The whole purpose of the Global Political Agreement was to make sure that the next elections should be held under satisfactory and peaceful conditions.

Zimbabwe is far from being stable and moreover, these elections are only supposed to happen after a new constitution has been put in place. Already, there are rumours that Mugabe is considering having these elections under the compromised Lancaster House constitution, albeit with a new amendment, probably Amendment Number 20. It does not require a rocket scientist to phantom that this will be a huge source of dispute post elections. In my view, it will be foolish for the MDCs to agree to this arrangement because they will be agreeing to the fact that their time in the GNU was a waste of people’s resources given how much was pumped into the constitution-making process. In other ways, they will be agreeing that they are after all the same as ZANU PF which has for years, demonstrated half-baked ideas and deeds as far as national leadership is concerned.

Wasting time on useless things

One of the most bizarre things that I read about in the papers last year was that our Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to be appointed as a spokesperson for the GPA principals. I find this bizarre because all three principals in the GPA represent different ideologies and the whole appointment sounded as a trap for the MDC-T leader to say all the wrong things that Mugabe would want him to say. Moreover, there is no provision for the post of spokesperson in the GPA and many would start to feel that everything is becoming a plot by Mugabe to make sure he oversees political transition before his health fails him. The fact that the very same meetings continue with the exclusion of the MDC’s principal Welshman Ncube is just another addition of political chaos we are busy brewing. Last week, I wrote about how people see Ncube as a sell-out who is prepared to reject an electoral pact between MDCs. It is then difficult to understand how this pact will work if the MDC T leadership finds it okay to sit in a meeting with Mugabe without the other MDC, something that was clearly explained by SADC leaders in their last Mozambique summit. I am not writing on behalf of Ncube but I guess we ought to remind each other where the disunity of the MDCs is stemming from.

National dress for a divided nation

Also last year, a proposal to have a Zimbabwe national dress was reported in the news and I am not sure how this is going to work. ZANU PF politicians are busy trying to block national ideas of devolution of powers and I personally believe it will be a struggle to have a dress that will unify us yet we continue to reject wishes of the people. While many agree with land redistribution and empowerment laws, I believe the whole thing will backfire for future generations. Last year, it was reported that villages in Gwanda area of Matabeleland beat up some miners in the area, accusing them of being of Shona origin exploiting their resources while they suffer. The government may wish to ignore these people’s case as an isolated incident, but it will be foolish to completely ignore it because there are visibly signs that the war of land tribal controls is far from over. Many people in Matabeleland are complaining that after land was taken from the white farmers, it was given to people who have no roots in the area. The same is being said about indigenisation and it’s all happening with the approval of ZANU PF and its supporters. If not corrected, we might see another tribal war if Mugabe goes as villagers will be feeling it is their time to correct the imbalances that were policy under ZANU PF.

Lastly, it was reported recently that Mugabe, just like Gadhafi, is calling for a united Africa with one president. The idea is noble but the question of corrupt and unproductive regimes like Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe will simply drive away the interest from other countries. It was also reported that Mugabe is saying the West is planning to assassinate him; something that I personally think is an attention seeking strategy from a lonely old man who has run out of ideas. Mugabe’s electoral dreams and his internal party politics matters of succession should not be taken serious as we all know there is nothing normal in Zimbabwe today for us to be even thinking about elections. But then of course, Zimbabwe is known for making the impossible absurd ideas possible and sadly, we have to keep watching Mugabe playing us. As one of my friends put it, “Mugabe’s proverbial survival instincts have turned the plot of stability that was expected in the GPA in a different direction – not that he will survive for long, but that he may oversee the last scene of his political drama.”

When MDC was formed in September 1999, Zimbabweans had hope that a new democratic dispensation would be ushered in by the men and women who had taken a bold step to challenge one of Africa’s last dictators, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF. Almost 14 years later, we are still battling with the struggle for change and freedom. As years pass, the fight is seemingly compromised by the diverse views that have emerged amongst us, even causing an unnecessary split.

Today, we are faced with realities that if we don’t present a united force against Mugabe, chances of removing him completely from power are very slim. This is because Mugabe has been able to capitalise on our weaknesses of fighting each other while at the same time, slowly but progressively portraying himself as a hero of the poor who has managed to take land from our former oppressors and also managing to redistribute wealth with his equality and ownership calls. In short, Mugabe has managed to get the once opposition parties talk more against each other than them talking about forging a united front as was the case in 1999 to democratically oust him

Unity in Deversity

Unity in Deversity

from power in the next polls the ZANU-PF strong man wants held in March this year.

A perusal of media products and other social networks show an opposition leadership spending valuable time attacking each other instead of investing their efforts in horning strategies to defeat Mugabe in the next election It is my humble submission that we have lost the plot and we need to get our act together before it’s too late. History has it that countries fall into civil war because people tend to lose confidence in leaders and take matters in their own hands – fighting fire with fire. Zimbabwe is not unique to this possibility especially if hope was to be lost in the upcoming elections. The failure by progressive political parties (mainly the MDCs) to forge a united pact against ZANU PF in the next elections has once again exposed our inability to coordinate each other for a greater good.

Matters of national importance get brushed aside by possible distortion of facts and every day we find ourselves slating each other, passing the blame without possible solutions and positivity. News of parties uniting have been doing rounds in the media since late last year and today, some Zimbabweans have already written off this possibility. We have handled this matter so badly and this sensible pact is most likely to be thrown into the dustbins of our shameful history whereby generations to come will blame us for failing to see greater goods for our nation. While there has been no official communication from the parties involved, some statements by individuals have served only to confuse people and in many cases, there seem to be some deliberate distortion as to what has been said. For example, many people have already concluded that the MDC led by Welshman Ncube is against unity. The media has even reported that Senator David Coltart and Welshman Ncube have sharp differences about this issue, saying Coltart is for unity while Ncube is against it.

Analysing information of what said by these two individuals, it is a bit confusing to understand how the public has been made to reach the negative conclusions that Ncube and his party are against progress. Below are statements extracted from the website http://www.newzimbabwe.com on what Welshman Ncube and David Coltart said about the unification of MDCs

Coltart wrote:

Welshman Ncube and I are not in fact at odds on this issue. Both of us agree that in an ideal world we should have a single united opposition against Zanu PF but we both recognise that that is well-nigh impossible. In the circumstances we should strive to agree on an electoral pact so that we do not split the vote as happened in 2008.We both know this will be very difficult and if there is any disagreement between us it is in how we rate the chances of obtaining an electoral pact. He is very pessimistic that this is possible whereas whilst I am also fairly pessimistic I think it is still possible. My views in this regard should not be taken as any fundamental disagreement between us or any loss of faith by me in his leadership.

Ncube responded:

David Coltart is correct. We all believe that it would be easier to defeat Zanu PF if we had a united democratic opposition to Zanu PF and that such a democratic united opposition is desirable and necessary. We differ only in respect of whether conditions for the creation of such a united democratic opposition to Zanu PF exists in Zimbabwe today and on whether given the objective conditions on the ground it is possible to achieve such a position. I believe that the reunification of the MDC is impossible for reasons too numerous to detail here. I also believe that given the things which divide the two MDC formations and what has gone on between the two parties since the split, it is equally impossible to construct any coalition agreement that would receive the support of the respective National Councils of the two parties.

What this means

For me, the most important thing to read from these statements is that they are made by individuals who were asked for opinions on what they think would happen. Having been individual statements, there is no indication that their views represent their political party and as Ncube puts it, the issue will have to be decided by the national councils of the two MDCs not them as individuals. The other thing to note is that everyone is focusing on what the MDC led by Ncube is saying but we haven’t heard deeper details of what the MDC led by Tsvangirai. In his speech last year in Manchester, Tendai Biti, just like Welshman Ncube acknowledged that Mugabe would lose against a coalition of progressive parties. His comments about whether it is possible to achieve this unity are still not known. The same goes with other people from MDC T who all say they desire the coalition but none has committed themselves to give a detailed answer of how this is going to be achieved. It will be interesting to hear the views of what they think about this and moreover, we haven’t heard what Prime Minister Tsvangirai thinks about it.

I personally believe that the issue of this electoral pact is sensitive and needs sober approaches because last time it was tried; it got rejected by the MDC T. The reasons for that rejection have not gone away and thus it is easy for some to conclude that the MDC led by Ncube is against it because of their leaders’ comments which to me, the said individual thoughts are result of past experiences.

My conclusions therefore are that it will be foolish for parties to stop trying the possibility of an electoral pact as experiences of 2008 tell us that Mugabe could have been easily defeated if we rallied behind one presidential candidate. Moreover, the security threats posed by the military and other ZANU PF fanatics will be greatly reduced if there was unity of purpose between progressive parties. The main thrust of my observation would be that while it is up to us to conclude what might happen, we must also give a chance to proper procedures to be followed by parties involved. This is not a matter of Welshman Ncube or Morgan Tsvangirai but rather one of collective decisions taken by national councils of their parties who are there to decide for the rest of us. We must then avoid making conclusions based on distorted truths as we doing now and allow democratic desires to unfold collectively while reporting them responsibly without sensitising the facts.