MORGAN Tsvangirai, (may his soul rest in eternal peace), dreamed of an animal called grand coalition. It was never to be. Tsvangirai died on February 14. He left his party weak and fragmented. That was despite a fraud called MDC-Alliance, incorporating former members of the MDC that Tsvangirai split over the years successively.
That thing will not amount to much. Save, of course, giving the likes of Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti a dignified and softer way to return to the fold.
From the wilderness — happily.
And do we not hear Welsh getting so happily comfortable that he is now pronouncing seniority?
And yet it may be a story for another day. Let it unravel.
But the antithesis is actually happening, unfolding.
Thokozani Khupe has all but pronounced herself out of the MDC.
In our nomenclature it is called a split.
For the umpteenth time.
We say blame it on Tsvangirai — posthumously. And we know what we are talking about.
Ok, we will need to slow down a bit.
Bulawayo, March 18, 2018
Thokozani the duly elected vice president of the opposition MDC, addressing a rally at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre on Sunday announced that she was breaking away from the party led by Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa controversially took power after the demise of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chamisa believes he is the anointed one — with the Divine Right to Rule, both party and country, which heads to elections in a couple of months.
He sees a little king in himself.
Chamisa grabbed power, backed by a populist, often violent crowd.
That is his idea of grassroots.
Just as well we must remark upon his crowd: a bunch of hotheads that are wont to deploy physical and verbal violence.
Khupe escaped death by a whisker at the funeral of Tsvangirai when he was being buried at a village called Humanikwa in Buhera, Manicaland.
Chamisa’s goons wanted to burn her alive in a hut.
That’s their idea of being a vanguard, defending a dubious construct called generational mandate. A few days later, a bloodbath in Bulawayo.
Against the poor woman, again.
Yet Khupe is standing her ground.
She won’t be intimidated.
And in her homeground of Bulawayo at the weekend, she declared that she was parting with the violent ways and organisation.
That is the split.
There are things to take note of.
It’s a grand split of the party.
Not that we did not see it coming.
She gave a brave speech, perhaps her boldest.
She declared: “With a clear conscious, (sic) we are parting from these actions and we will continue to pursue the democratic project of taking the people of Zimbabwe to the Promised Land.
“Naturally, we shall very soon be going to an extraordinary congress that will elect a new substantive leader of the MDC as provided for by the party constitution and I hereby urge all of us to respect the outcome of the extraordinary congress.
“We demand that there be change, a change, which will respect the constitution. A change which will respect democracy, a change which will be against violence and a change which will be against all forms of violence and discrimination.
“The time has come and the time is now for us to take a stand and say enough is enough. We all want to be treated equally, with dignity and respect.
“We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord, the eyes of the law and indeed in the eyes of the societies that we live in. “The time has come for a new Zimbabwe, not only for some, but for all citizens regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, creed and religion. The time for us to stand up and be counted is now.
“Today, we boldly declare that we are the MDC and always shall remain the MDC that believes in not only respecting, but also strictly upholding the party constitution as well as the party’s founding values, principles, character and culture.
Going forward, we hereby immediately dissociate ourselves from any members of the MDC, who are resorting to the use of wanton violence, intimidation and thuggery as tools for political mobilisation. Additionally, we also unreservedly and unashamedly declare that we are not going to be part of any political formation that doesn’t abide by the dictates of the MDC constitution.
“If God is for us then no one can be against us. Indeed, God is for us who are gathered here today and we will continue to fight the good fight to one day attain a truly democratic Zimbabwe.”
That is the split on our hands.
Chamisa may put up a face and wear some Dutch courage about the situation.
Yet the situation is grave, and he knows it.
Khupe is no pushover
It shall be recorded that Khupe stood even against Tsvangirai and boycotted his meetings and overtures. It will be foolhardy for Chamisa to ignore her, whatever he can say. Whatever the rented crowds ferried to cheer Chamisa.
This is going to be interesting.
In his moments of honesty Chamisa knows that this does not look good. Khupe is actually looking ahead, beyond. Her speech at Bulawayo Amphitheatre also cast her as a stateswoman pitching herself to lead the country and fix its ills.
Not that we vouch for her assuming national leadership.
That’s a whole new debate.
But at her opposition level she has just made it clear that she won’t be cowed.
It does not look too good for Chamisa.
He has to, and has been sending envoys to placate Khupe. But it’s not going to help much.
Her mind is made.
We also understand that she has higher stakes to assume.
She is eyeing leadership.
Hence, no amount of intimidation or harassment will deter her.
Zimbabwe’s opposition is at a crossroads. Those of us sitting on the terraces will enjoy the drama. A more holistic look at Zimbabwean politics informs us that the opposition is at a precarious position.
Ideally, the opposition ought to be closing ranks and put that united front of unity.
But the grand coalition has failed.
We instead, have a grand split before us, perhaps routine.
Chamisa will live to regret this. But he is powerless to stop it.
Meanwhile, the bullet train and Las Vegas dreaming Chamisa buoyed by those little crowds does not seem to be ready.
Or he is just immature at the moment, which tells every intelligent observer out there that in 2018, it will be the same opposition losing again.