IN what insiders and analysts have described as “primitive and a manifestation of a full blown dictatorship” the MDC-Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa has barred its members from discussing party matters on social media platforms.
Political analysts who spoke to The Herald described the decision by Mr Chamisa to muzzle free expression and debate in the troubled MDC-A as a reflection of the party leader’s aversion to freedom of speech and expression, tenets the party claims to uphold but had since discarded.
As the rot in the opposition deepens, MDC-A members were last week stunned when the office of the party’s secretary general, Chalton Hwende, directed group administrators on popular messaging platform WhatsApp to dissuade members from discussing party politics.
In the shocking letter members were directed to stop using the popular social media platform to discuss administrative internal party issues.
“After noting the corrosive and toxic nature of the WhatsApp groups that were created in the name of the party, the national standing committee met on December 2, 2020, and resolved that no member of the MDC-Alliance, regardless of the position one holds, shall be allowed or permitted to discuss, debate or converse party issues or business on WhatsApp groups.
“WhatsApp group administrators who allow their groups to discuss party business and issues will be disciplined, including the members who would have participated in the discussion”.
The letter goes on to threaten disciplinary action against members daring to discuss party matters on the internet.
Contacted for comment Mr Hwende said he was on leave and directed questions to the acting secretary general, Mr David Chimhini, who was not answering calls on his mobile phone.
However, several members of the party confirmed the authenticity of the memo dated December 2.
Analysts described the move to ban discussions on WhatsApp as “shameful, fascist and undemocratic”.
Political analysts Mr Maxwell Saungweme said the antics by Mr Chamisa are crude and not expected from a 42-year-old leader of a supposed “democratic entity”.
Former top MDC executive member, Mr Obert Gutu, said the letter exposed the MDC-A as a rudderless party that had degenerated into a fascist movement.
“I am not at all surprised by this fascist and dictatorial move. That party imploded a long time ago. It has always been ravaged by a lack of ideological clarity and inclination. It’s a hotch-potch of conflicting, confused and confusing ideologies.
“Fundamentally, that has always been the main weakness of the MDC. Who, exactly, are they, ideologically? They claim to be social democrats but then their behaviour and conduct proves otherwise. They’re intrinsically violent and intolerant. Social democrats don’t behave like that. There are now virtually a praise and worship choir, always singing the praises of a man who apparently doesn’t seem to know whether he’s coming or going. In fact, going forward you should expect to read about weirder and dictatorial directives from that party, an organization that is now in terminal decline,” said Mr Gutu.
Another political analyst Mr Collin Mhadzano concurred with Mr Gutu saying Mr Chamisa had a tendency of flouting democratic processes.
“You can never subjugate truthfulness permanently and conveniently replace it with falsehoods. The dictatorial nature and inclinations of Chamisa and his cabal have always been there since his colossal defeat to Douglas Mwonzora in their battle for the secretary general’s post. The opposition’s foundation has always been premised on dictatorial tendencies. For starters, we have one Fadzai Mahere who postures for that outfit as its spokesperson. Many will recall that even without the requisite attributes of having served in the party for certain years, we just woke up and found her imposed on that position
So, it comes as no surprise that an illegal and undemocratic decision has been put in place to bar members from freely participating in democratic discourses. One shudders to think the gruesome reality that will befall Zimbabweans if such dictators could have levers and access to instruments of power. This serves as a warning to all peace loving Zimbabweans that such undemocratic outfits, which are foreign controlled, should always be peripheral in the nation’s body politic”.