Madhuku ends MDC relationship

HARARE - Lovemore Madhuku, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson is reviled by his opponents and adored by those enamoured with his activism.

From President Robert Mugabe to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, the mainstream MDC, the University of Zimbabwe law professor is like a pain that refuses to go away.

You don’t need painkillers to deal with Madhuku.

“With the MDC, we no longer have a relationship, at all. This must be stressed,” said Madhuku.

“Our relationship with the MDC was simply on the basis that the NCA helped to form the MDC, that the MDC would become a political wing of the broad project of trying to make the country more democratic. They have since abandoned that. I think from 2008 after the elections”.

He said in the 2008 campaign, just like the 2002 campaign when the NCA supported the MDC, it was on an assumption that the MDC would, as a political party in government or the MDC president as president of the country, would promote “those values we stood for”.

Relations between the mainstream MDC and one of its founding members, have been frosty although both parties tried to put a veil on the seemingly cracking union for sometime.

Since the inter-party talks which led to a secret constitutional draft penned by the two MDC formations and Zanu PF, in Kariba, the broader civic society felt Tsvangirai had assaulted the principles of pushing for a people-driven constitution.

Today, the civic movement is sharply divided because of the constitution-making process with some backing Tsvangirai although privately acknowledging the defective process which Madhuku argues is a departure from their principles.

“To say that we don’t have any relationship with the MDC anymore has nothing to do with our own personal relationships because we have had a long struggle together.

“We have very close friendships at a personal level with those people that are in government, for example I relate very well at a personal level with Tsvangirai himself, Tendai Biti and so on.

“These are really our friends, we were jailed together, beaten together, formed the MDC together, formed the NCA together and so on.

“So our relations for me go a long way. Politically, on the constitution-making process, I do not see us ever coming back together.

“They should not even expect us to support them even when they go into the next government. We think they do not have any principles because if they have principles there is no reason to continue to fail the relationship,” Madhuku told the Daily News.

The NCA leader cast doubts on Tsvangirai winning next elections because of perceived ineffectual plan to force political reforms in the inclusive government.

He said Tsvangirai has allowed Zanu PF to push him to where they are better placed to run.

“He allowed them to reach the next election without any reform. The purpose of the inclusive government was to create a transitional arrangement at the end of which we would be able to have a stable country that can run free and fair elections.

“Tsvangirai spent the last three-and-half-years in an arrangement where he extracted no fundamental reforms.

“He will still agree to go to an election where there are no fundamental reforms. I do not see him winning without fundamental reforms. What has been reformed? The security sector is quite intact, Mugabe is still having the levers of all.”

The 2004 Train Foundation’s Civil Courage Prize winner claimed the reason why Tsvangirai may not make it is because he presided over a process where no reforms were to come out of it.

Madhuku said the MDC has failed to deal with the corruption reported to be in their rank and file leading to a fall in their public ratings.

He said their failure to announce a “free and fair” candidate selection process is indicative of lacking moral power to tell sitting MPs to face the “real thing”.

“There is so much involvement of dirtiness in the whole thing. Because it is dirty, you want to maintain a particular political class because the political class will perpetuate your stay.

“Let us say they get defeated in the next election or they have the election ‘stolen’ from them, they will still want someone to say.

Tsvangirai forever and ever; the only person to say that is that one who was protected from being challenged (in party primary elections).

There are contradictions by the MDC on whether the party will allow sitting MPs to go through primaries.

Spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora has indicated not all sitting MPs will face primary elections but organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, has said there won’t be sacred cows — all MPs will have to pass the primaries’ test.

Madhuku doubted if a new constitution was going to be written.

“Initially there was a fear you would get a defective document which should not be taken to the referendum. But it is getting clearer that not even a defective document would come out of the process.

The parties are going to continue wrangling, not for good reasons.

“But each party now wants to use the debate of the constitution to score certain political points. The MDC, for example would want to be seen to have completely defeated Mugabe all the way.

“On the other hand, Zanu PF realises that in the public domain they maybe seen as having lost the battle. They want to keep their face and they will resist as much as possible.

“It will lead to a deadlock of sorts which would mean that no document will be ready when we reach January and then towards the end of January Mugabe is likely to just impose an election date. That is how I feel.

 I do not see a constitution coming out of this process. We are back to where we were at the beginning of the process”

Madhuku is not really viewed as a saint.

He has been accused of becoming another Mugabe by clinging to the NCA chairmanship and aligning with Zanu PF in his criticism of the MDC formations.

Madhuku said he will leave his post after the elections, although he could have gone sooner had the referendum being held earlier as had been envisaged.

He completely dismissed Zanu PF links.

“If there is a coincidence that what we say maybe what Zanu PF is actually favouring, we will not stop criticising the MDC merely because Zanu PF is happy with it. We do not criticise MDC for Zanu PF. We criticise the MDC for our sake. It is cheap politicking to say a person who has criticised Tsvangirai is therefore Zanu PF. It comes from those who believe they are the best game in town,” said Madhuku.

For someone who was raised at Madhuku Village, passing through a school with same name in primary and later attending Gideon Mhlanga and Mt Selinda High Schools, respectively, Madhuku might not have started yet.

The 46-year-old has a degree from the UZ, Master’s and PhD achievements from Cambridge University.

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