Cautionary tale for war at MDC

WE are very concerned by the unpleasant leadership tussles and other goings-on in the main opposition MDC, as the party founded by the late Morgan Tsvangirai (may his gentle, selfless and unifying soul rest in peace) approaches its elective congress next month. 

While both democracy, as well as inter- and intra-party political contestations can — by their nature — be messy, there is a real danger that the MDC could once again be headed for major strife pre- and post its congress, to the detriment of the country. Indeed, it can be argued that Zimbabwe has never needed a stronger MDC since former president Robert Mugabe’s ruinous four-decade rule was dramatically ended by a military coup in November 2017.

To be clear, we at the Daily News have no horse/s as the MDC approaches its elective congress. What we want, like most right-thinking Zimbabweans — including many enlightened Zanu PF supporters — is a strong main opposition party.

This is particularly so remembering how, for example, a vibrant MDC led by Tsvangirai was able to help stabilise the country politically and economically a decade ago, working with the ruling party in the life-giving government of national unity.

This is also why we are concerned about the growing Machiavellianism within the party, where some of its leaders are so focused on their personal interests, and seemingly have no qualms about manipulating, deceiving and exploiting others and party followers to achieve their ambitions.

For our readers who may not be familiar with the term, Machiavellianism derives from a reference to the infamous Niccolò Machiavelli, a diplomat and philosopher in the Renaissance era whose most well-known written work was The Prince — a notorious book which espoused his views that strong rulers should be harsh with both their followers and enemies, and that the glory and survival of such rulers justified any means, even ones that are immoral and brutal.

Thus, someone whose conduct is referred to as Machiavellian — and there are a few in the MDC leadership who fit this bill — is only focused on their own ambition and interests, even if they often come across as charming and personable.

What we expect from the current crop of MDC leaders, just as the much-loved Tsvangirai did, is that they work to unite the party and the country, and to advance the interests of all Zimbabweans.

As well as providing direction, inspiration and guidance to the MDC, good party leaders should also nurture the strengths and talents of all their lieutenants and followers, and build strong teams committed to achieving common goals.

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