Some key people who should be part of the MDC Standing Committee

The Movement for Democratic Change has been around for 20 years now, and some people are losing hope that it will form a government at all.

by Kennedy Kaitano

I beg to differ, and still strongly believe that with the appropriate strategies, it will be able to contain Zanu PF’s rigging machinery and form the next government – and I will play my small part in the process – because for all I know – Zanu PF cannot, and will not reform. With evidence now coming in the open that it was Emmerson Mnangagwa who authored most of Zanu PF’s evil machinations and oriented the party’s rank and file on those evil machinations which have now sunk root in Zanu PF leadership, it will be expecting too much to think Zanu PF will change tact, especially with a resurgent MDC threatening its grip to power.

Zanu PF will continue to employ the dirty tactics that have kept it in Government, and even develop more tactics for that matter, so the MDC has to work harder to outwit Zanu PF, hence the coming Congress has to be very careful and elect strategic thinkers and aggressive leaders who will support Chamisa’s bid for Presidency. The Party is blessed in that it is not short of candidates who are all strong in many ways, with some being stronger in some ways than others. The voters simply need to look at what things the party needs to make a breakthrough, and then look at the candidates presenting themselves, and see who among those can successfully address those challenges in order to achieve victory. In my view, some of the key things that the MDC needs to do harder to win the elections include:

1.       A strong strategy to penetrate the rural areas

2.       A strong strategy to break the Zanu PF-Zec romance

3.       Getting the Diaspora  to vote in their domiciled countries 2023

4.       Expose Zanu PF to the international community

5.       Mobilize resources to oil the party’s machinery

For those things to be achieved, I have no doubt in my mind that you will need Advocate Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Professor Welshman Ncube, Douglas Mwonzora, David Coltart and Tapiwa Mashakada among those in the Standing Committee.

An estimated 69 per cent of Zimbabweans reside in rural areas. The rural electorate is not necessarily Zanu PF, but they give in to Zanu PF intimidation tactics which have involved from open murder to more subtle means which are not easy for the observers to notice, but which were sued intensively in the 2018 elections where Zanu PF continued to register people in its registers and threatened them with death should they not play ball. Those who witnessed others being killed before, especially in 2008 will dare not go against the Zanu PF orders. Fortunately, there has been generous footage taken from such tactics in the 2018 elections, which sharp thinking leaders in the mould of Biti can use to push the United Nations, the Commonwealth and other international governments and organisations which do business with Zimbabwe to push the illegitimate regime of Mnangagwa to implement real electoral reforms that would enable the country to hold genuinely free and fair elections in 2023. I find Biti more forceful than Morgan Komichi in that regard – the man can talk and convince. Remember, he was voted Africa’s Best Finance Minister during the Government of National Unity. Note also the international connections Biti has made, including through the co-authoring of the book on democracy which many of the international players will want to read.
Professor Ncube’s age and wisdom will be needed to complement Biti in that push, and I don’t see how the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe will fail to pin down Zanu PF and make it possible to have a free and fair election.

Parallel to the reform agenda, the Party should also do less of the urban rallies and focus more on rural outreach programmes, which should be led by the President himself, Advocate Nelson Chamisa. The President must be seen where the majority of voters live, with the entire Organisation Department led by Amos Chibaya, all provincial leaders and all other senior leaders who will be available support those rural outreach programmes. Professor Ncube would spearhead the rural drive-in Matabeleland North and South, supported by the Provincial leadership in those provinces, while rural campaign strategist Douglas Mwonzora supports the rural drive in Manicaland to consolidate the party’s superior showing in last year’s Presidential elections in that province. This is where I will give the vote to Mwonzora over Hwende, who chickened out of Msengezi to contest in Chegutu in 2013, and after losing in Chegutu, caused commotion in Kuwadzana where he eventually outwitted candidates who are resident in the suburb and got the MDC ticket to represent Kuwadzana East. In my view, such leaders are opportunistic, and cannot be trusted to fight wars for the party in the non-liberated zones, and voters at Congress should take that into account. Despite his opportunistic tendencies, Hwende does not conduct himself in leadership fashion and needs a bit of growing up before he can be entrusted with the Secretary-General or even Deputy Secretary-General position. He gets unnecessarily emotional and I have witnessed him clash with members of the party on Twitter and on WhatsApp where he could have provided leadership.

The Diaspora vote will be key to winning the 2013 elections. The Diaspora has been making initiatives which have to be supported strongly at very senior level by all pro-democracy formations. I have shared some diaspora experiences with a candidate for the Secretary-General position, Daniel Molokele, who I shared some literature on one of the Diaspora initiatives as I had been told he had been planning a Private Member’s  Bill. After a few follow up messages after sending him the document, he said he was to call me, but that call has not happened many months later. Based on that experience, and the fact that nothing much has been heard about the Private Member’s Bill that he was said to be championing, I wouldn’t trust him with the Secretary-General position, but he may be handy as a Deputy and gain some practical experience before making another attempt at the Secretary-General position.

David Coltart and Tapiwa Mashakada seem all capable of the Treasurer-General position, and whoever gets fewer votes should, in my opinion, be appointed as the Deputy Treasurer-General. Both men are highly professional and it should not be a problem for them working together to mobilize resources for the party.

In my last post regarding the need for at least two female Vice-Presidents to achieve gender balance remain important, but at least one as resolved by the Party is not bad, and still hope that the females contesting will market their potential and match their male counterparts. At least they have one Vice-President post reserved for them, and none has been reserved for men, so there is a mathematical probability of three all-female Vice-Presidents being elected.
The beauty of all this is that the party has decided not to have elections for deputies from the Chair, Secretary General, Treasurer, Organising Secretary, Secretary for Information and Publicity posts, so some of those who will get fewer votes in the positions they are contesting for can be appointed to the standing committee and still be part of the winning leadership. I think all three female Vice-President contestants deserve a place in the standing committee because of their hard work as well as to balance the gender in the Standing Committee.
Inclusion of the persons I have suggested, in my opinion, will help the MDC widen their rural support base and get more rural votes, achieve the Diaspora vote, create an accurate picture of Zanu PF’s evil machinations and mobilize resources for its programmes that will enable the party to be declared the winner in 2023.