IF there were any doubts about the MDC-Alliance being a front for foreign interests in Zimbabwe, then events of the past week must have shredded such doubts.
Some Western embassies went into overdrive in defence of the opposition MDC-Alliance, accusing the State of fomenting the leadership wrangles bedevilling the waning political outfit.
I have no doubt that many of those who fervently support the MDC-Alliance, particularly the so-called millennials, have no idea of the identity of the party’s benefactors at its inception, and the purpose for which they funded it.
For the benefit of these millennials, let me state here that the majority of Zimbabwe regard the MDC-Alliance as a foreign entity marshalled by some of our compatriots.
Its conception was not local. Many Zimbabweans are aware that the Westminster Foundation financially invested a lot in the MDC. These “founding fathers” included white commercial farmers.
Who could forget the footage on CNN of white farmers openly and proudly declaring their funding of the party, writing cheques as Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s founding president, sat in front of them.
Many had hoped that the death of Mr Tsvangirai presented a golden opportunity for the political entity to reform itself from being a Western appendage to a homegrown entity whose interests were in tandem with the general nationalistic inclinations of Zimbabwe.
Instead of reforming, the party seems to have further entrenched itself as an appendage of Western interests in the country. The evidence is apparent.
Soon after the coming into the fold of the New Dispensation and with the general national sentiment swinging on the side of the ruling ZANU PF, top MDC officials that included Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and one Dewa Mavhinga flew to America to literally beg the Americans to halt the positive momentum that ZANU PF had gathered following the resignation of President Mugabe.
In a video widely circulated on social media, Biti is heard saying that they had been well received by officials of the American administration. He boasted that they had held meetings with very top officials, with whom they had never imagined to ever have an audience with. Biti bragged that it was not a joke that, once in power, billions would be poured into the Zimbabwean economy by the Americans.
Biti told the US senate committee to block any debt restructuring for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans have no problem with its nationals engaging with anyone from whatever part of the globe, including America. However, it becomes a cause for concern when a leader of an opposition political party boasts successfully campaigning for the strangulation of the economy.
I am sure many will remember how Chamisa, upon his return from one such trip of shame, told his supporters that he had managed to meet many people in Europe, where he claimed he managed to “sunga one, sunga dozen”.
Literally translated, Chamisa meant he had gone about closing all possible sources of financial or moral relief for Zimbabwe. Let’s fast forward to 2020 and Chamisa finds himself in a quagmire. Some within his political entity challenge his legitimacy. One party activist, Elias Mashavira from Gokwe, successfully challenges the manner in which Chamisa assumed the party leadership.
After a setback at the High Court, Chamisa ignores all counsel to settle the matter internally. It is the MDC itself, in its own and under no pressure from the State or ZANU PF, which makes the decision to take the matter to Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court later upholds the earlier High Court ruling that declared Dr Thokozani Khupe the acting president of the opposition party following the death of Mr Tsvangirai.
Nobody had pushed the MDC to go to the Supreme Court. Instead of abiding by that ruling, Chamisa and his bunch of kowtowing supporters and lawyers then become apoplectic. They accuse everyone including ZANU PF of meddling in their internal affairs.
Yet, if truth be told, the state of paralysis in the MDC has nothing to do with the State or the ruling ZANU PF, but more to do with a leadership that prides itself as democratic, but fails to abide by its own constitution.
It is not ZANU PF that pushed Mashavira to challenge Chamisa’s legitimacy. It is not ZANU PF which forced Chamisa to challenge the High Court ruling in the Supreme Court. It is not ZANU PF or the State that pushed Chamisa not to abide by that ruling. He could have sought an amicable way out with his fellow colleagues in his party. Advised badly by his advisors, he chose not to.
Today, with all this evidence, we watch with curiosity as some Western embassies fervently jump into the fray.
With zero evidence, they throw all manner of accusations to the Government. They choose to ignore the facts; this is all to do with leadership ineptness and nothing to do with any imagined interference by the State.
Is it not obvious to anybody that the main problem confronting the MDC is the problem of birth? At its conception, the MDC never made any pretences that it was a nationalistic entity rooted in Zimbabwe and pursuing Zimbabwe national interests.
As alluded to by one exiled professor, the major weakness of opposition politics in Zimbabwe is that they are not “rooted, framed or cast in the nationalistic project.”
The Western embassies’ rush to pick sides, while ignoring all facts, does nothing to counter that narrative. If anything, while some embassies think they are helping the MDC, they are in fact damaging the party.
With each tweet, they confirm that the MDC’s very existence was to give birth to a Zimbabwe divorced from the foundational ethos of the liberation struggle.
The MDC goes about lying to their impressionable constituencies that democracy started with the emergence of the MDC in 1999. Yet everyone knows that this is historically incorrect, the whole essence of the liberation struggle was about democracy. The idea of no independence before majority rule clearly encapsulates the fight for a democratic dispensation, which came about in 1980.
Until the MDC refashions its consciousness to the nationalistic project, it will for years be viewed as an alien creature being foisted on the people by outsiders.
As Foreign Affairs Minister SB Moyo stated recently, Zimbabwe remains open to engagement. These relations must be based on mutual respect. It is unjust to demand that us who suffered under slavery and colonialism must not demand equal humanity in the face of continued systematic institutional racism against black people.
Now is the time to refuse blurring of memory. We are an aspirational country, probably the first to radically correct a historical injustice on land, and we have never been forgiven for that. Now is the time to discard that liberal circumspection that closely resembles lack of conviction.
As Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie says, we seem to have reached that tipping point where we need to put “the idea of the liberal bubble” to rest.