THE decision by the two opposition MDC formations to adopt the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 18 Bill in Parliament last week under the Sadc-brok
ered talks has ruptured the once united opposition and civic society on the best modus operandi to unseat the ruling Zanu PF government.
The rift in finding a lasting solution to the Zimbabwean crisis emerged at a public political forum on Tuesday night when National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku called for mass action against the government while MDC (Tsvangirai formation) secretary-general Tendai Biti said the ongoing dialogue should be given a chance.
The forum was held at a city hotel under the New Zimbabwe Lecture Series to discuss the topic “Fighting Authoritarianism Through Democratic Means”.
In his no-holds-barred presentation, Madhuku said it was impossible to unseat Zanu PF through democratic processes like elections and dialogue and the only practical way to achieve regime change was through popular mass action.
He took a swipe at the MDC for its decision on the constitutional amendments adding that his organisation and other civic groups would continue to mobilise the masses to resist continued repression by going out on the streets.
“That’s my prescription, that’s what I believe. We are quite clear in our criticism of the position taken by MDC. We are all genuine in our endeavours to fight Zanu PF but we have different approaches. The spirit is to interchange ideas but we believe we need to combine our forces. We must organise people to revolt. It does not matter we are beaten.
However, Biti said there was need to give dialogue a chance and it was too early and unfair for civic society to accuse MDC of selling out.
He said MDC had resolved at its last congress that dialogue would be one of the processes it would also use to seek a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.
“The objective is the same. It does not matter it’s through democratic resistance, stay aways, final push or Pretoria. We all have a common objective and the position we took on the amendment must be understood in that context.
“In any case, we are very clear on what we will do should Zanu PF renege on issues agreed upon in the on going talks. We will not participate in the elections and we will resort to what we previously agreed on –DRC – democratic resistance.
“So you must understand where I am coming from. Even our vice president Thokozani Khupe was very clear on our position in Parliament. We have not abandoned our principles and values,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe political analyst Eldred Masunungure said hopes of any effective resistance by Zimbabweans were weakened by the submissive nature of the populace due to previous experiences like the Gukurahundi and use of oppressive state apparatus.
He said Zimbabweans were generally weak and as a result any meaningful resistance required total mobilisation and coordination by the leaders.