Recent pronouncements that the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is considering ditching the traditional democratic modus operandi of going for primary polls leaves a lot to be desired.
For a party that has purported to represent ethos of a democratic way of doing things, it baffles the mind why Tsvangirai and company are slowly but surely engaging in a copy and paste on Zanu PF’s style. Has the MDC, as an alternative to democracy that the people yearn for, failed?
The prime goal of being in politics by selective individuals in our societies is that we cannot all be in Parliament; we can not all be in Cabinet, or all of us becoming ministers. Definitely a selected few should play the representational role.
All the aspirations we might have as a society have to be represented by a selected few, whom we entrust with all the decision-making, knowing out- rightly that whatever they do will be in the majority’s interest.
Primary elections should rather act as a litmus test to the incumbent representatives of constituencies in Parliament, whether during their tenure they indeed represented their constituencies’ interests.
In essence primary elections should strengthen than weaken a party as opposed to what recent conspiracy theorists have tried to do by defending the rather shabby idea of abandoning the holding of primary elections. Such elections create a rare opportunity for the political party’s executive members to have direct contact with the grass roots.
They remain the only viable mechanism of registration of pleasure or displeasure on the party candidates’ performance by the people.
They provide a mirror that can be used by the party to gauge people’s mood before the final elections.
The temptation dodging the MDC — that of creating some sacrosanct and sacred cows is by any standards, a medieval political practice that a political party purporting to be a paragon of democratic virtue should never in any way be tempted to emulate.
It makes the MDC and Zanu PF the same, only that at least Zanu PF is much clearer and principled in its contempt of democratic practice.
The other worrisome predicament in the midst of all this is Tsvangirai’s bold pronouncements that he is not prepared to quit as the helmsman of his party any time soon.
“I am a messenger of hope and cannot be a carrier of bad news. I cannot be discouraging my own supporters or threatening them,” Tsvangirai was recently quoted in the Daily News.
However, the damage has already been done. Tsvangirai just like President Robert Mugabe is silently building a cult. The message is open. There is no discouragement or threats to talk about as the Premier purports.
The message is clear amongst the ranks in the MDC — those up to challenge Tsvangirai’s position would be inviting a guillotine. The man has been gripped by the same meaningless “I won’t go syndrome.”
History would have been made. There is nothing wrong in relinquishing power.
For a party that has carried the tag of a democratic movement, the MDC should never contemplate such autocratic behaviour. If possible Tsvangirai should even encourage open debate about succession politics, something I don’t presume that he, just like President Robert Mugabe, is comfortable with.
On the other hand we have Zanu PF’s old and tired song of all provinces having endorsed Mugabe as their presidential candidate. Next year Mugabe will be turning 89.
Mugabe thinks passing leadership to any one is not proper because the “revolution” against imperialism is still on.
Tsvangirai now feels the same; he thinks he needs to fulfil the “revolution” of regime change first.
Biblically, Moses had to anoint Joshua after realising that he had done his part, but still there was need to proceed with the mission of taking the Israelites to the Promised Land.
Could it be that there is a Joshua lurking in our midst? - Alexander Rusero