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Zimbabwe: Noise in MDC-T camp, who cares
Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2008

By Stephen T. Maimbodei
May 06, 2008
The Herald

THERE is an old Chinese proverb that says, "Listen to the words and locate the deeds."

This has been said time and again: when we listen to the MDC-T and watch their conduct and actions do we see them as being in sync? Is the MDC-T walking their talk? Where are the MDC-T's words and actions taking the people of Zimbabwe, apart from the distressful situation they have already brought on Zimbabwe's doorstep?

After the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced the much-awaited presidential results, there were media reports that on May 3 the MDC-T party leadership held a lengthy meeting where one of the major issues discussed was whether Morgan Tsvangirai should participate in the unavoidable run-off election, since none of the four presidential candidates had garnered the 51 percent required by law to be declared the outright winner.

It was also reported that the meeting ended without the MDC-T leaders deciding whether they should take part in the re-run election.

The media also reported that the party would send a delegation to South Africa to consult with Tsvangirai, since he has been living in self-imposed exile in different parts of the Sadc region soon after the March 29 poll.

It is common knowledge that the MDC-T leadership that the people sees does not walk the talk, because it is not their game they are playing.

We also know that the delays in announcing whether Tsvangirai will battle it out with President Mugabe in a date yet to be announced by ZEC is just but a political gimmick.

No offence meant to our sisters, but the way they react to political issues that present themselves looks like they are in a courtship game. The girl, who usually knows that she is in love with the guy, will play the game: "Ha-a iwe mhani iwe. Ha-a iwe mhani iwe. Ha-a iwe John ndozvandisingade . . . "

But eventually she gives in without coercion.

This is exactly what Tsvangirai just did yesterday for the umpteenth time when the Times Online reported that Morgan Tsvangirai was undecided on run-off with President Robert Mugabe.

Wrote Catherine Philp: "Zimbabwe is to go ahead with a second-round presidential election run-off in the coming weeks, leaving the opposition scrambling to decide whether to take part or sacrifice the contest to Robert Mugabe."

Another headline said he would be coming back home, which means coming to fight, for if the dangers that he talks about are still there, why would he want to come?

Since coming onto the Zimbabwe political scene, the MDC have always played these hide-and-seek games.

The MDC-T leadership is so ensconced in its donor-funded make-believe world, and they have in the process not only fooled the people that they are a better option to Zanu-PF, but they have also forgotten the interests of the very people they claim to be representing.

In their "fight" with Zanu-PF, they have also forgotten the proverbial saying that when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers, and that the people have had enough of their absurdity.

A general audit of their globe-trotting, both regionally and internationally, in the past few months will reveal the amounts (in hard currency) they are squandering.

In less than a decade, so short a period, they have become master jet-setters and five-star hotel connoisseurs.

Early after their formation, the late Petronella Samuriwo wrote an incisive opinion piece in the now defunct Daily News newspaper drawing the people's attention to the MDC-T leader's appetite for jet-setting, and admonishing him about his appetite for a lifestyle that did not augur well for someone who was so steeped in the development-speak language of democracy, human rights, transparency, good governance, government expenditure, rule of law, etc.

For Tsvangirai was always accusing Government for overspending and making trips that were not beneficial to the people.

The results that were announced by ZEC last Friday were well known to the MDC-T, for when Tendai Biti "announced" the MDC-T's first set of results on April 2, he remarked, upon being questioned that they would participate in a re-run election "under protest".

Well, the results are out, and the people of Zimbabwe would now want the electoral issues resolved as soon as possible so that they can go on with their lives, for people cannot be in an election fever forever.

As the MDC-T dilly-dallies with people's lives they probably are not aware that people need respite from the current challenges they are facing.

Their actions also go to show that over and above the challenges that people are faced with, the MDC-T is oblivious of current trends in the globalised world where the following headline-grabbing stories are major issues to anyone who really cares about human life do not faze the MDC-T a bit: global financial crisis; global food crisis; escalating food prices; the right to food; threats to food security; escalating fuel prices; global water crisis; global energy and power crisis; global health crisis; climate change, etc.

This is why this writer has always found the biblical book of Nehemiah fascinating, and relevant to Zimbabwe's situation. This is a book that was written when the people of Israel were in captivity.

In its first chapter, Nehemiah writes: "They said to me, 'Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire'. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept."

However, when Nehemiah got the opportunity to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city's walls and gates he was faced with stiff and deadly resistance from non-Jews who were benefiting from the chaos in the city.

He writes again: "But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us.

"What is this you are doing?" they asked. "Are you rebelling against the king?"

This is exactly the case with the Zimbabwean situation.

The people of Zimbabwe are in "great trouble and disgrace", and "the walls and gates" of Zimbabwe have been broken down and need restoration, but because there are people benefiting from the current problems, they are playing games.

Those who are raking in trillions of dollars they are receiving from the "donor" community would want Zimbabwe to remain in this state because they are benefiting immensely.

For how do we explain this anomaly: shop shelves are empty, but you see fuel-guzzling motor vehicles on the streets, especially in the capital Harare?

How do we also balance the act where the majority of the people are going on empty stomachs, but the country boasts some of the latest models of motor vehicles, and some people can afford one shopping trip after another in all the neighbouring countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique, with some going as far afield as Dubai and China?

How do we also explain this misnomer when the rand, American dollar, euro, pula and pound sterling seem to be the most preferred currencies than the Zimbabwean dollar?

And when calls are made that we should as a people not put our individual interests first, but the interests of Zimbabwe, it means exactly that. This means President Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, Zanu-PF, MDC, and everybody who has Zimbabwe's interests at heart.

Therefore, for once, can't the MDC-T leadership keep quiet and allow due process to speak for them? Can't they keep quiet so that they do not continue to confuse their supporters? Can they for once act in the national interest, and allow the rule of law, which they were very much part to in crafting do its work?

We know that politics is a game, and it is also a game of numbers. We also know that strategising is key to this game.

We also know the importance of posturing and how all these put you in a competitive advantage. But to what end?

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