ONE important development that has lately become the subject of interest in the political happenings of this country, and of course in the background of the about to happen elections, is the need and possibility of unification between the two Movement for Democratic Change formations, one led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and the other by Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC).
Although those who are bating in defence of this wicket have not yet offered a clear methodology on how these parties can unite, what is clear about their proposition is that they feel the unity will help dislodge President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF once and for all.
And they are of the strong opinion that the unification will purchase the country massive stability and prosperity owing to the experience these two parties have gained from the government of national unity.
Though it is true that a united MDC will stand a better chance of ending ZANU-PF’s over 32 years of political hegemony instantly, there are however, a number of important questions and aspects that urgently need to be demystified before anyone can even talk about this unification.
First and importantly, could it be conceivable now for these parties to find common ground in their pasts and future when they have failed to do so in at least over seven winters? Or, are their modus operandi collapsible into a single thing?
Further, is there any necessary will and honesty between these parties which can climax into a genuine unification without causing similar problems in future, which saw the party split in 2005?
Quick and as a case in point, when MDC president Prof Ncube recently spoke in an interview with Zimpapers owned radio station Star FM saying there were “fundamental” differences that made it difficult for the two parties to unite, the MDC-T reacted with scorn and expressed anger over his remarks.
Drawing parallels to the analogy of a cheating woman, who begs for an apology from her husband for the marriage to continue but later goes back to see her boyfriend and proceeds with her dishonest antics, Ncube said: “You cannot have unification if one of the parties believes completely in non-violence and the other believes there are circumstances where you can resort to violence as an instrument of political organisation.”
On the other hand MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Ncube had closed the door for possible unification to tackle Zanu-PF. This as a starting point triggers concerns that the unification might result in a serious political disaster evidenced by the lack of openness to discuss the problems that visited the split in 2005.
Much more, much more twice than all this, addressing MDC-T supporters gathered at White City stadium to celebrate the party’s 13th anniversary, national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa equated the supporters of MDC to fish in a pond. Setting a clear tone that the parties currently have no spirit of working together, MDC national spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said his party did not desire any union with any political party except for the 12 million Zimbabweans.
Secondly, it appears the net effect of the much touted unification would be to remove President Mugabe which on its own has its relevant problems. Often many people have asked, if we remove Mugabe what next? Who will take over the reins of power and move the country away from the horizons of wreck?
Yet those who are calling for this unity – I stand to be corrected if I am wrong – seem to be suggesting that the MDC should swallow its pride and join the MDC-T as the “main” movement. Methinks, merely judging by the results of the 2008 elections could be misleading and may affect the spirit of amity these formations may need should they decide the call each other face to face and embrace the much advocated direction of dialogue.
Thirdly and related to the above, this unity should never be treated as a favour being extended to another formation by the other. It is a fact that MDC-T has working structures across the country and in a similar view MDC has fully fledged structures and a very critical question would be: what will happen to these structures in case the call for unification gets important backing?
Speaking from a theoretical point of view, the merger sounds like a proper thinking, but still they say things sweet to taste prove in digestions sour. Should these whispers that are crying from afar gather momentum, who will occupy the office of the secretary general between Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Tendai Biti? Between Lovemore Moyo and Goodrich Chimbaira who will be the national chairperson? More so, who will sit at the helm of the party between Tsvangirai and Ncube?
Let no one overlook these issues for we are speaking about matters of power and control.
And if they unite under these circumstances – let me prophesy – the blood of unification shall manure the ground of this country, peace shall go to sleep and in this seat of peace tumultuous wars shall “kin with kin and kind with kind confound, disorder, horror and mutiny shall here inhabit!!”
Forth and last, still not minor, the report of the pre-2005 split is now in the public domain and the most important contents in it are that “there were sections of the party who sponsored, recruited, trained young people who were abducting leaders and beat them.” The report also indicates that some leaders were stripped in the presence of girls and boys and beaten at Harvest House, the party’s headquarters.
Against this background, those whom fingers are pointing to, have remained silent and dampened the spirit of honouring up to explain what happened. Further I say and further will maintain, in order for the MDCs to find common ground towards the future, both sides should be willing to face each other and let the accuser and the accused to freely speak about the ingredients that necessitated the break and offer genuine mechanisms to guard against similar if not worse circumstances.
But we should never lose track of the major events that resulted in the break, issues that include tribalism and “denial of collective decision” by certain leaders.
Whether through negotiations, diplomacy or what, the MDC-T and MDC will need one another to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis. Besides, the country dearly needs vibrant opposition parties to for it to move away from three decades ZANU-PF rule.
We however, say unification is certainly not the answer for the deep sense of hatred has found roots and lines of mistrust between the two forces are clear.