LEAKED nasty exchanges between MDC-T standing committee members and other top officials on a WhatsApp group appear to signal that the opposition party has not healed from the heavy election loss in 2013 and has a major policy deficiency, analysts have said.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The harsh exchanges were triggered by the appointment of Costa Machingauta as acting national organiser in Gweru last week, allegedly by secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora without the input of other members who sit in the party’s highest decision making body.
Machingauta was allegedly appointed because of the absence of national organiser Abednico Bhebhe who is reportedly doing studies at Lupane University while his deputy Thamsanqa Mahlangu is on sick leave.
Officials including Mwonzora, deputy treasurer-general Charlton Hwende, Sesel Zvidzai among others openly traded insults over what they called the unilateral and “illegal” decision by the secretary general.
In one of the chats, Mwonzora mocked deputy treasurer general Charlton Hwe-nde for scoring low votes, saying that as a deputy, Hwende was not supposed to be in the standing committee.
Hwende immediately hit back saying: “For a secretary-general to say that deputies are sitting in the SC (standing committee) illegally, that’s very low even for your standards. You are an embarrassment. Even if I got one vote . . . and this coming from a lawyer? I am ashamed.”
Another party member interjected: “What has more votes yielded for the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering? You have failed to protect the workers of our party and call yourself numbers.”
Hwende accused Mwonzora of pocketing $4 000 while party workers had gone for months without pay.
Mwonzora denied the allegation and fired back saying: “But I certainly don’t badmouth my own superior. Others do. I win my way into leadership. Other people sponsor rag-tag youths to pass a vote of no confidence in their own superiors.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu refused to talk about the matter.
Analysts warned such fights were a result of policy inconsistency as the major opposition has failed to regain steam following the 2013 electoral defeat to Zanu PF.
“This is part of a delayed trauma of losing elections in 2013 that has not played itself out. It manifested again during the split of MDC Renewal and there are still remnants within on how and why the party lost. You need to go back to 2013 to understand what is happening now in that party,” said University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure.
Masunungure said the fights were a manifestation of a party that was destined for further disintegration.
He said although Zanu PF was also bogged by factionalism and succession wars, rarely did the party split and even those expelled or suspended were hesitant to form splinter parties.
“This is lack of policy coherence in the MDC-T which policy should solidify the leaders and the followers. That is one of the tragedies of the MDC-T,” Masunungure said.
Political analyst Takura Zhangazha said the leaked conversations were evidence of the continued political contestations within the MDC-T.
“I think the leaked conversations are evidence of a continued fallout from their congress and a continuing political contestation for influence within party structures,” he said.
“They would however be better advised to concentrate on keeping their members engaged on key issues such as explaining their party’s solutions to the dire national economic situation as opposed to personalities.”
Another political analyst, Gladys Hlatywayo said the opposition should be concentrating on offering alternatives and stop fighting over non-issues.
“I think the issue is about the dearth of leadership, fatigue and lack of direction. This is the reason they are concentrating on non-issues at the expense of real issues like the deteriorating economy and closure of industries among others. One would have thought that the opposition should be on the forefront giving alternatives and not what they are doing,” Hlatywayo said.