Thursday, February 23, 2006

Split within the Splinter Group

The meteoric rise of Arthur Mutambara as Zimbabwe's savior is already checked with controversy after reports of infighting with the Ncube/Sibanda camp of the MDC over who they should select for a leader. With just a few days remaining before the faction's congress, this, the pro-senate faction, is apparently in search of a candidates that will appeal to people across the country. This from the Financial Gazette,
So far, all candidates reported to be vying for the post of president to be contested at the faction’s congress scheduled for this weekend are Shona. This has fuelled speculation that the faction, which was labelled a breakaway group by people mostly from Matabeleland, may be more interested in striking a regional balance to portray a national outlook. The leading contenders for the post of president are Arthur Mutambara, a former student leader who is now a renowned academic; Gift Chimanikire, a former trade unionist and deputy secretary of the MDC; and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Glen Norah and the faction’s parliamentary spokesperson.
"They are desperate to get a Shona, but he has to be a reputable leader,” political scientist John Makumbe said."
This begs the question aren't the three leading candidates thus far, Priscilla Misihairabwi, Arthur Mutambara, and Gift Chimanikire only pawns in Ncube and Sibanda's play for power? It seems patently clear that Ncube and Sibanda are nothing more than shrewd, contriiving, manipulating politicians bent on using others to get what they want. Ask Morgan Tsvangirai, he knows.
When the MDC was founded in 1999, it was largely due to Tsvangirai's ability to mobilizes the working class when he was the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). So when the MDC was launched the division of tasks was as follows: Tsvangirai would devote his energies to mobilizing the grassroots base and establishing a national party structure.

On the other hand Welshman Ncube and the technocrats were tasked with coming up with a party constitution and ironing out any institutional issues. And that's just what they did. As most intellects are prone to do, the technorats in the MDC decided Tsvangirai's contribution to the party didn't warrant any internal power in the party. So the MDC constitution was written making Tsvangirai nothing more than a ceremonial leader who couldn't do anything as simple as call a meeting (any meeting) without checking with secretary general's office first.
He too was used, thankfully he discovered this in time. Now Gift Chimanikire seems to be in the process of making this jarring realization as you read this.
The plan by Ncube and Sibanda to rope in Mutambara appears to have triggered a damaging split with MDC deputy secretary Gift Chimanikire, yesterday accusing his two colleagues of plotting behind his back to recruit the former student leader and of wanting to behave like "Shona king-makers".

"The group has been calling clandestine meetings behind my back and they invited Arthur Mutambara without even consulting me and other party officials in their attempts to be Shona king-makers," a fuming Chimanikire told ZimOnline on Wednesday.

Chimanikire, who is Shona and seems to have banked on that factor to land him the leadership of the Ncube/Sibanda faction of the MDC, vowed to resist attempts to make him step aside for Mutambara, who he called an "expatriate" who had not contributed anything to Zimbabwe or the MDC.
As for Mutambara, just like Tsvangirai and Chimanikire before him, I don't think he realizes what he is putting himself into. From an article that appeared in the Herald,
Is he his own man?

That aside, his candidature is a serious indictment of the leadership in the
Sibanda-led faction. Here are people who, for the past six years, claimed
that they had what it takes to lead Zimbabwe but who could not find a leader
from among themselves when push came to shove.

They had to look outside to rope in someone who was not even in the trenches
during the formative stages of their party. Someone who is clearly out of
touch with existential realities in Zimbabwe. Politics by its nature
presupposes gradual development; if the top-four in the Sibanda-led faction
failed to develop over the past six years what guarantee is there that they
will ever develop?

A lot has been said about Mutambara's leadership qualities based on his days
in the UZ Student Representative Council (SRC). However, after perusing
reports of his exploits, one is persuaded to believe the late MDC Spokesman,
Learnmore Judah Jongwe's constant refrain that, "Mutambara's only claim to
fame as a student leader was that he was arrested and detained by police."
Read more of this here. This weekend is setting up to be an interesting one after all.

One thing is clear now more than ever: Mr/Dr./Professor Mutambara is best advised staying out of Zimbabwean politics. You're very good at what you do sir, and that is robotics.

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