'Tsvangirai a better devil than Mugabe'

HARARE - International Socialist Organisation (ISO) Zimbabwean co-ordinator Munyaradzi Chikweche, known by many as Gwisai, is unflinching in his quest to have a ruling workers’ party.

Others have labelled him a loose cannon while some mildly say he is a radical without a cause.

It might be difficult to describe Gwisai as many forms of linguistical gymnastics could be far off the mark in exposing his character.

But one thing is certain: Gwisai has no permanent friends except permanent interests.

Hardly a week after appearing at a news briefing in which he vented his anger and frustration at the collapse of the National Constitutional Assembly’s (NCA) bid to stop a new constitution, blamed on the complicity by long time ally now rival — the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC — Gwisai this week rallied his colleagues to back Tsvangirai in the forthcoming elections.

He drilled holes in accusations that Tsvangirai had become another dictator; instead, choosing to focus on what would be opportunities for workers to deal with a future government without Zanu PF.

“The ISO disagrees with NCA chairperson Professor (Lovemore) Madhuku’s characterisation that the coming elections are merely a competition between two dictators and it doesn’t matter which one wins.

“Mugabe and Zanu PF have to go. And no progressive organisation worth its name, can sit still and celebrate the escalating regime violence against the MDCs and other opposition groups, such as the incarceration of Beatrice Mtetwa and the Glen View 5 activists, just because Tsvangirai blundered in the referendum,” said Gwisai.

Madhuku railed into Tsvangirai and accused him of being a dictator after agreeing to hold the referendum in an environment which the NCA boss said was skewed in favour of the “Yes” vote campaigners.

“The MDC has lost moral ground to complain about the same issues they presided over during the referendum. The MDC consented to that. That means those are the same conditions which will apply to them in an election. We don’t expect them, for all morality to start complaining.

I am sure those are the rules they want to operate in an election,” said Madhuku.

“We will hope they just go through an election now under the same conditions that they gave to us. And thereafter we will have to be definitive. We don’t mind whoever wins the election. We now know that we have a dictatorship in place. And the choice between the MDC and Zanu PF is a choice between two dictators.

“Because we have two dictators, we shouldn’t be really saying this dictator is more useful than the other. These are just two dictators.

Let the two dictators fight within a dictatorial environment and let’s get one we will then confront”.
Gwisai told the Daily News that it was wrong to classify Tsvangirai and his party in the same bracket with Zanu PF.

“The truth is that a Tsvangirai State will be innumerably much weaker than the current Mugabe regime, and thus easier for the working classes to confront.

“Moreover, having removed such an entrenched dictatorship such as the Zanu PF one, the working classes will be much more confident of taking on the much less sophisticated, blundering and less credible Tsvangirai regime.

“Zanu PF is a tried and tested dictatorship, developed over decades of years and whose hands are dripping with the blood of thousands of genocide victims.

“Despite its nationalist economic rhetoric, the regime, in complicit with western capitalists, imposed Esap (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme), the far-most far reaching attack on workers, the rural farmers and the poor in general, and does so today under cover of the GNU.

“Its dictatorial and patronage tentacles are so invidiously spread across all sections of society from the State itself to para-militia groups like Chipangano that they completely stifle out even the slightest modicum of bourgeois democracy” said Gwisai.

 “This dictatorship is strong and is going to do a June 2008 in this election because Tsvangirai’s naivety and blunders have allowed that to happen. The MDC and Tsvangirai have allowed themselves in the last four years to be led by the dictatorship. Even at this late hour the dictatorship tramples on democratic rights,” said the former Highfield legislator.

The dreadlocked lawyer was referring to a wave of arrests made by police since the end of year which pro-democracy groups say are aimed at cowing human rights and civic groups ahead of planned elections to be held later this year.

Among those who have borne the brunt of a police crackdown include prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa who was recently bailed  after her arrest three weeks ago by police during a raid at Tsvangirai’s private office.

Police have waved away claims they launched a crackdown on human rights defenders and opposition officials, maintaining they cannot “fold hands and watch” while crime is being committed.

However, Gwisai warned Tsvangirai about his party’s record in the inclusive government which he claimed was tainted by corruption.

A number of councillors in the mainstream MDC dominating local authorities have been fingered in graft, prompting the party to fire 12 councillors in clear cut cases of corruption.

“The MDC are more busy with the looting agenda. As you know the MDC ministers have been given $30 000, three cars and residential stands each, on top of what they already have. Their policies have been a disaster,” said Gwisai.

The fiery 44-year-old lawyer was referring to a golden handshake reportedly agreed to by Cabinet to award top-of-the-range cars and residential stands in prime areas at a time when there is a sea of poverty and cash crunches in the country.

Only one minister, incidentally from the mainstrean MDC, has turned down the “immoral” parting package.
Gwisai said he was encouraged by the numbers of people who voted “No” in the just-ended referendum, claiming it was a key vote that could not just be dismissed.

Tallies released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) reported 3 079 966 voted “Yes” while 179 489 backed the “No” vote.

A total of 56 627 votes were spoilt.

Gwisai said the way forward was not to rest back or de-mobilise the post-referendum, but transfer the energy gained so far into accelerated united bread and butter struggles and “crucially to deepen radical working-class political and ideological consciousness among activists.

“These are the real urgent tasks of the day”.

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