By Denford Magora
AMBITION is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it is ambition for its own sake, the consequences can be enduringly devastating. This is why some amo
ng us have always expressed our disquiet that the mission of the opposition MDC seems not to be the delivery of a better Zimbabwe.
Rather, it appears that the purpose of the MDC’s existence as defined by its leaders and their die-hard cohorts is to replace the ruling Zanu PF at Munhumutapa Building. This replacement has become an end in itself.
Viewed in this context, the fratricidal infighting within the MDC makes perfect sense: Morgan Tsvangirai is not motivated by the desire to see a better Zimbabwe. Rather he is driven by an overarching desire to be president, regardless of anything else really.
Of late Tsvangirai and his followers have demonstrated they are willing to walk to State House on a carpet of the dead bodies of free speech and a free media. Lacking the authoritative power to silence the media that points out the inconvenient truths, MDC supporters have recently been attempting to intimidate observers into silence.
Trevor Ncube, the publisher of this paper, is now apparently a Zanu PF apologist, according to some who have responded to his musings on the way forward for our battered nation. His crime: pointing out that the fight the MDC has been engaged in is unwinnable on the terms that it set out for itself.
Advocating compromise, Ncube is immediately called a traitor. But a traitor to whom? To the ego of the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC?
Then certainly Ncube should wear that badge with honour. And he can do so with the knowledge that, since 1998, we have been pursuing a pipedream engineered by the MDC leader and his followers. Still, there is no end in sight.
Time is running out because the longer we continue to dig, the harder it will be for us to clamber out of the hole we find ourselves in. The nation cannot afford the MDC “strategy” of letting Zanu PF implode in the hope that in picking up the pieces, we will also then pick up our salvation.
We will not be sacrificed on the altar of Tsvangirai’s ambition. We will not go quietly into the night. If Tsvangirai and his followers want to rule sheep, then they should be farmers, not politicians. People, on the other hand, are another matter entirely.
Much as it may surprise the followers of Tsvangirai, his bit of the MDC does not have a monopoly on brains. We also think. We can also reason. We can see when we are being led like lambs to the slaughter and it is our right to refuse to play along. When we so refuse, it serves no purpose to force us to think like lemmings. The days of blind loyalty, unconditional belief in the wisdom of political leaders and collectivism in everything including thought died with the Iron Curtain.
Unless, of course, the MDC is a club of like-minded people like the Masons. In which case, the club must speak only for its members and stop claiming to be speaking on behalf of the whole nation. If that were the case, and the MDC were not staking a claim to our conscience, then we would let them bludgeon each other in peace.
But that is not the case. The MDC says it stands for the people. That’s me. And Trevor Ncube. And every person who carries a Zimbabwean ID or has the right to one. When it sabotages itself, the MDC is doing so in my name and in the name of every person who wants a better Zimbabwe.
So it is quite alright for Ncube to be entirely dissatisfied with the way the MDC is conducting its affairs and to offer suggestions and make observations. So why should we not have a say? And having a say is by no means only confined to nodding our heads and turning a blind eye.
This country’s future belongs to all of us. At birth, we each bought a share in the company Zimbabwe Inc just by virtue of being. The value of our shares in this country is being eroded every day from both sides of the political divide and we have reason to not only be disappointed but to also openly express our dissatisfaction. After all, freedom of expression happens to be the dividend from our shareholding in this country.
We must, therefore be alarmed when the MDC and its agents appear to fear the power of ideas, for we subscribe to the belief that our future should be one where different ideas are explored, if not embraced. But never dismissed.
Even as the MDC leader is busy pumping bullets into his own foot, his blind followers insist that we should ignore the fact that they are pointing to him as the man whom we should send off to fetch us water.
Our faith has been solely sorely over the last decade and our thirst is so great and the least we can do is speak out and demand better representation and protection of our interests. This is one inalienable right we claim and which nobody, even God, has no right to take away. Indeed, it is the premise of the Christian faith that God gave man choice. Man can choose to worship Him or to worship Satan or indeed to worship no one at all. If God recognises the right of man to make his own choice and speak his own mind, then when the MDC denies us this right it is making itself out to be bigger, mightier and morally superior to God.
At the root of our problem, then, is the fact that we are faced with a double calamity. Those who want to replace the failed people in government do not themselves inspire confidence. If anything, they are displaying alarming signs of being no better than a different face of the same beast. Ncube is not advocating the destruction of the MDC, so there is no justification for calling him a Zanu PF apologist. Instead, he is calling for the strengthening of our nation.
It just so happens that, to some people, the strengthening of our nation is equivalent to the destruction of the MDC. Hence these people snipe at the heels of every person who demands that the national interest be put before the interests of the MDC. In which case it becomes not only valid but imperative to ask the question: do we need the MDC? If so, what for?
If the argument, as one so often hears, is that the mere removal of Robert Mugabe from power is enough to guarantee the redemption of this nation, then it follows that almost anybody will do.
We must then ask: with all the repressive, intolerant traits evident in the way the MDC is conducting its affairs, why does it have to be them and no other?
They have no programme apart from the begging bowl out, in the process perpetuating our nation’s status as the street kid of the global village. They have no specific vision apart from whatever meaning they choose to attach to the words better and change.
So again we ask: do we need the MDC?
Denford Magora is a Harare-based writer.