'Chaotic MDC a blessing to Zanu PF'

HARARE - Analysts have described the divisions in the MDC which saw rebels “suspending” party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other members of the top hierarchy on Saturday as a game where there were no winners or losers.

Political analysts had earlier predicted the inevitable split of the 15-year-old movement which has so far presented President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF with the stiffest challenge since independence in 1980 — following the dissent among party members after it failed to win the July 31 harmonised elections last year.

The MDC, formed in 1999 by labour and civic groups to end Zanu PF rule, has been rocked by serious divisions for a while but infighting escalated when expelled deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma penned a strongly worded letter asking Tsvangirai to step down as party president.

In his letter, the former energy minister cited the MDC leader’s failure to bring about change after three elections. He also said Tsvangirai’s personal life and conduct had soiled the image of the party.

Mangoma later claimed to have been physically attacked at the party’s offices at Harvest House. He then accused Tsvangirai of setting thugs on him and the case is now before the courts.

Biti, who has always been rumoured to be spearheading a campaign to oust the former trade union boss also told delegates at a meeting convened by Sapes Trust recently that the MDC lost the election because Zanu PF had a superior message.

The party eventually suspended and expelled Mangoma for what they termed throwing the party into disrepute by speaking to the media over contents of his letter.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News that the reversal of expulsions by the rebels was likely to be replicated by Tsvangirai who would in turn suspend those who attended the Saturday meeting.

“What we are seeing now are two structures that are co-existing but not happily,” Masunungure said adding that a split was inevitable.

He, however, said there was uncertainty on which faction would triumph.

“There are quantitative differences in this instance the Tsvangirai faction is stronger in this regard but weaker in strategic skills. Biti is a strategist but does not have the numbers,” Masunungure said.

He added: “In a party, you need both quality and quantity. Biti needs to mobilise the grassroots to make that faction a viable entity.”

Maxwell Saungweme said the current development marked the beginning of a long battle for leadership of the party and that there was likely to be more violence as they tried to push each other out.

He said there would be protracted legal battles as both sides question procedures and the legality around the suspensions and expulsions of their supporters.

“It’s a party in chaos. Both sides will accuse each other of being allies with Zanu PF as both claim to hold legitimate interests of the party. The real issue here is that the party is split. But due to issues to do with party’s resources and the party’s MPs in the rival sides, both will selfishly claim to be the bona fide group.

“Where do the people, come in all this? Both sides are not differing on material issues of proffering alterative policies to the failing Zanu PF government. They are differing for the sake of power.”

“No-one is really thinking of the many people who died for the MDC — their lives were lost in vain. A disorganised and chaotic MDC like this is a big blessing for Zanu PF,” said Saungweme.

Political science lecturer at Mulungisi University, Zambia, Shakespeare Hamauswa concurred with Saungweme, adding that the battle lines had been drawn from a complex legal perspective and Machiavellian political tactics.

Hamauswa said the biggest winner in the split would be Zanu PF which no doubt would use it to its own advantage.

“The de facto faction will take the lead but will need the backing of the courts. Zimbabwean courts I guess will uphold Tsvangirai’s suspension for the very obvious reasons. But Harvest House will likely be infested with anti-rebels,” he said.

But Masunungure said it was too early to determine which side had a competitive advantage over the other. He however, noted that Biti enjoyed the advantage of attracting funding which he said mattered in the next election.

Comments (15)

ZANU PF must not fool itself. It has very serious leadership problems. Its leaders are tearing each other daily: Mutasa versus Mnangagwa, Mutsvangwa versus Mumbengegwi, Mzembi versus Kasukuwere, Mliswa versus Nyabadza e.t.c e.t.c.

Shakes Mazhanje - 28 April 2014

The MDC-T fights are coming at a good time. We are far away from elections and by the time elections come all will have settled down. The electorate will know who is who as the various contestants will have proved themselves to the electorate. Carry on guys and the better team win.

Evans Fombe - 28 April 2014

Biti and company have done well to suspend the hopeless Tsvangirai. It was a pity that intelligent people like Sipepa Nkomo and Biti were led by a clueless fellow like Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai proved to be a useless figurehead during GNU while Biti exhibited exceptional leadership and administrative capacity. It's only logical that Biti must take over. Tsvangirai must assume duties like being a mere driver driving around the likes of Sipepa Nkomo.

Remember Siziba - 28 April 2014

What is happening is funny. I hope those with better ideas will triumph.

Tom Mapetese - 28 April 2014

The destruction or physical elimination of MDC-T and Morgan Tsvangirai will not change the country's fortunes for the better but instead ZanuPF will now have the chance to turn the country into a one party state. There is a reason why ZanuPF and Mugabe paid Ari Ben Menashe $3 million to implicate Tsvangirai in a flimsy treason plot. There is a reason why the CIO has Morgan under surveillance 24/7. There is a reason why the CIO have an unfinished operation to eliminate Morgan physically; they missed last time and killed the wife instead but there is every indication they will finish the job especially during these chaotic times when his death can be blamed on anyone. There is a reason why Morgan is under attack by the ZBC, Herald and Sunday Mial 24/7. There is no other opposition leader who attracts the kind of attention Morgan gets from the CIO; the reasons are all too obvious- he is effective.

Disaster - 28 April 2014

Masunungure is right. Biti is a strategist but currently lacks the numbers. However his strategic skills will likely bring him the much-needed numbers in due course. Biti distinguished himself during GNU and he was probably the only one with the guts to confront Mugabe.

Toots - 28 April 2014

I think Saungweme is wrong in his assessment. In the long term the conflict in MDC(T) may actually give birth to more effective leadership. ZANU PF is no better as it is having numerous conflicts. ZANU PF conflicts may even degenerate to dangerous fights. We still have a long time before elections and by the time we have elections, all these conflicts will be water under the bridge and the various parties will be distinct units. People will be spoilt for choice. This is good for democracy.

Bekithemba Khumalo - 28 April 2014

Biti and Sipepa are intelligent maybe but wise definitely not. They are the worst strategists ever. How can you organise a kangaroo court if you seek or desire genuine change? The people are always the wiser. It is not degrees but wisdom that is needed in leadership. These two gentlemen are playing to the gallery and seeking to confuse the masses but they will not succeed. Tsvangirai ndizvo!

Ndaneta - 28 April 2014

Tsvangirai's leadership was in question from that time he used dictatorial tendencies in the first MDC split on the senate issue. He was accused of the Kitchen cabinet (Makone et. al) thus neglecting party structures in their proper positioning. Look this Kitchen cabinet was good at finding him many women and helped him to make foolish decisions. He was out smarted by R.G. Mugabe in the GNU - whenever Mugabe knew that an issue was not negotiable, he will force the issue out of cabinet to the Principal table -- and guess what decisions came out of the Principals' meeting -- Gushungo's decision and Save was busy putting lots of sugar in the tea cup - feeling very important but chaburwa woye hapana. Remember that Biti almost refused to join GNU coz his boss was taking instructions from US!!

Lex - 28 April 2014

Whatever you say or think dosent really carry the day. It is the masses' decision that will matter most. You can be perfect strategists or zombies. The final verdict is in the people in as får as opposition politics is concerned in Zimbabwe. Who gets the masses backing carries the day.

Ziziharinanyanga - 28 April 2014

Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma were the chief negotiators in the formation of GNU and in the constitution making exercise. They were also in the forefront when it came to election campaigning. And now they are tearing the party apart before congress, which makes us wonder if they have really been with us all along in the struggle.

Dr Know - 29 April 2014

Biti is very wicked. I think his illness has infected the brains as well. What strategy has he that he will moot to defeat Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe which he failed to advise the party all along? It is evident that to beat Robert Mugabe was/is a difficult thing as we all know that the systems that we use in this country were set by him since 1980. Only in his absence will any party beat Zanu PF because it will obviously have fissures (Zanu PF) because of their disagreements on who will succeed President Mugabe. Bit has seen this development and has sought to throw away Tsvangirai but he forgets that he needs numbers to succeed in his mission. It is also being engineered by Zanu PF given the favourable coverage Biti is enjoying from the Herald and ZTV. Pasi newe Biti. Nxaa, useless dog!

Kunaka - 29 April 2014

Since Bob has previously said he didnt want to retire whilst ZANU PF was in a bad state, perhaps now that it has a 2/3 majority, he can retire safe in the knowledge that the MDC is not going to threaten ZANU PF in 2018. That would be a perfect consequence too coz though ZANU PF yakaora any change will definitely bring some good even from within ZANU PF itself. There are many such case studies e.g Mwanawasa post Chiluba.

Peter Hameno - 30 April 2014

Lets leave ZANU FP lo Ncube out, utsho ukuthi ubaba lo mama omakhelwana nxa besilwa lathi sokumele silwe na? Liyazi okunye ukufunda lakho kungani yibuthutha.Kwatsho omunye untombazana wathi ukufunda kwabanye ayisikho kuhlakanipha, njalo ukungafundi kwabanye ayisibo buthutha.Nampu ubuwule bamadoda amadala.

mariyeti mpala - 30 April 2014

Gentlemen, Tsvangirai is a serious political master mind. look here. The greatest threat to MDC was the 2016 Congress, which would have given time for saboteurs and infiltrates to damage the party and prevent the possible Tsvangirai face on the 2018 Ballot paper. Now, even if it is by fanning Biti, or Zanu PF project to prop Biti just to dislodge Tsvangirai, they have suffered the deadliest blow in recent political History, because the counter by Tsvangirai to hold Congress in October 2014 instead of 2016 will utilise the current anger of the masses with Biti, to rubber stamp a Congress victory immediately giving Tsvangirai 5 more years to 2019 which is a year after next elections. Meaning Tsvangirai is now undoubtedly on 2018 voter Ballot paper. This returns the tide to Zanu PF as they still struggle to choose candidate, with using Mugabe not favourable as obvious Dictatorship is spotted, compounded by their deadly factional struggles in Zanu PF, we would see serious fractures in PF. The ball has been safely returned to Zanu PF court until 2019.Let the Zanu PF Circus begin. Punishment plus good move!!!!

Tortoise - 30 April 2014

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