The Movement for Democratic Change: The Continuity of its Theoretical and Practical Weaknesses
By Sehlare Makgetlaneng*
June 10, 2008
"The fight against Zimbabwe is a fight against us all. Today it is Zimbabwe, tomorrow it will be South Africa, it will be Mozambique, it will be Angola, it will be any other African country. Any government that is perceived to be strong, and to be resistant to imperialists, would be made a target and be undermined. So let us not allow any point of weakness in the solidarity of the SADC, because that weakness will also be transferred to the rest of Africa."
The Movement for Democratic Change is characterised by unique and frightening theoretical and practical weaknesses. It is as if it is not an opposition political party in the former settler colonial society in the region which was the victim of settler colonial rule. It has no position on imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, globalisation and north-south relations. Despite acute problems confronted by the masses of the Zimbabwean people on a daily basis, its strategy and tactics have been failing to meet their demands and needs. The consequence has been that they do not recognise them as expressions of their own experience. Its remaining alternative to defeat the Zimbabwean African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) to be in power in Zimbabwe is the ballot box. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate that the MDC's profound theoretical and practical weaknesses have continued increasing. In its achievement in the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, the MDC have exposed the continuity of its theoretical and practical weaknesses. It is as if it does not have serious organic intellectuals capable of articulating appropriate strategy and tactics, nationally, regionally, continentally and internationally. Who are its leading intellectuals and strategists?
The MDC maintain the thesis of the primacy of external factors over internal factors. While it maintains that ZANU-PF is responsible for socio-political and economic problems in the country, or that their sources are internal, it maintain that their solution is external. It maintains that leaders of some other African countries, particularly President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, are crucial for solving these problems and the survival of the Mugabe administration as well as ZANU-PF as the ruling party. The incorrect thesis of the primacy of external factors over internal factors either in the resolution or maintenance of Zimbabwean problems is maintained even by some of those who declare to be against it. They maintain it when they argue that external actors are critical to the continued survival of the Mugabe administration. Ian Phimister and Brian Raftopoulos defend this thesis when they maintain that "the support of President Thabo Mbeki has all along been crucial for survival of Mugabe's regime." Leaders of the whole Southern and Central Africa have also enabled the regime to survive. As the "ZANU-PF government" effectively suspended the rule of law" in its attempts to "bludgeon its opponents into silence, it has enjoyed the support provided by the so-called 'quiet diplomacy' and 'constructive engagement' of other Southern and Central African governments."(2) A critical and objective analysis of the state of the MDC will support the fact that internal factors, not external factors, have been crucial for survival of the Mugabe administration. Highlighting its practical and theoretical weaknesses, Dumisani Muleya maintains that it is:
getting into a state of paralysis. After defeating Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) [in the 29 March 2008 elections], the MDC seems to have run out of ideas.
After the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission delayed to announce the results of the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, maintaining that the MDC won the presidential elections and that it had obtained the required percentage for it to be in charge of the political administration of the society, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai moved from one administrative capital to another administrative capital of Southern Africa meeting political leaders of the region asking them for support for his political party. These are some of the leaders his organisation has been not only avoiding, but regarding as central to the survival of the Mugabe administration. The issue of mobilising the masses of the people to support what the MDC said was its overwhelming victory in the presidential and parliamentary elections was avoided.
The trouble is that the opposition has no serious leverage to change the situation. Its attempt at mass action a few weeks ago was a damp squib. The truth is that even if the MDC is popular with the masses, it is structurally brittle and lacks strong leadership. It has no capacity to deal with Mugabe's hardened regime. It has been consistently outflanked in the streets by Mugabe's brutal security forces and outmanoeuvred at the negotiating table.
The power relations still favour Mugabe, due to his control of the instruments of repression. There is a need for the MDC to be more dynamic to avoid becoming paralysed. The party also needs to rely more on formal structures to make critical decisions on the way forward, rather than ghostly characters or money grubbers with narrow vested interests. The party risks being hijacked by money mongers, especially now that it is on the verge of gaining power.(3)
Barney Mthombothi in 2004 maintained that, instead of mobilising its supporters, the MDC "has been wasting time on fervent pleas to the international community." Tsvangirai and his colleagues should recognise the reality in practice that the masses of the people of Zimbabwe are "the fount of their credibility, legitimacy, power and authority" and that when "the masses are properly mobilised no autocrat, no matter how powerful or repressive, can rule them against their will for any length of time." He concluded that the MDC's "tactic so far has been to appeal for international assistance in the form of sanctions and boycotts without a concomitant intensive mobilisation of the masses within the country" and that this tactic is incorrect in that it fails to come to grips with the reality that the "home front is the theatre, the crucible, of the struggle" or that the "engine of the opposition is in Zimbabwe, not outside" the country.(4) Briefly, "the key catalyst for change" in Zimbabwe "remains Zimbabweans."(5) This position is the advice to the MDC - the advice it has refused to recognise in theory and practice in its insistence that the solution to Zimbabwe's problems is primarily external, not internal. The MDC under the leadership of Tsvangirai is still embarking upon this programme of action. After the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission delayed to announce the result of the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, maintaining that the MDC won the presidential elections and that it has obtained the percentage for it to be in charge of the political administration of the society, Tsvangirai moved from one administrative capital to another administrative capital of Southern Africa meeting political leaders of the region asking them for support for his political party. These are some of the leaders his organisation has been not only avoiding, but regarding as central to the survival of the Mugabe administration.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC, in his speech at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation symposium in Cape Town on 8 May 2008, pointing out that there must be "a commitment to democratisation, social and economic reconstruction and national healing" in Zimbabwe, concluded that the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and South Africa "have a duty to play their part" to serve as "the midwife to deliver the baby" and that "Zimbabweans did what they could" in bringing into existence "the people's victory of 2008" elections whose recognition is essential.(6) In a typical MDC appeal to "international community" and threat of mass action if it does not do what it is being asked to do, Biti concluded in his speech: "Leadership must emerge from the international community to fill the vacuum of mediocrity, inaction and paralysis. Without this the population of Zimbabwe might have no option but to fight back."(7) What Biti refuses to acknowledge is that if the MDC is committed in practice to "democratisation, social and economic reconstruction and national healing" in the country, it must wage a war against itself being the organisation accused even by some of its members of providing the leadership of "mediocrity, inaction and paralysis" in the resolution of the Zimbabwean national question. The responsibility to bring this popular national development into existence in Zimbabwe lies on the shoulders of the people of the country. For the political party to spend time, energy and resources criticising leaders of other countries for not committing themselves to resolving national problems it declares to be the primary reason behind its establishment is to maintain that it is not capable not only to achieve this national objective, but also of serving as a genuine national leader, leading the people into achieving and defending their strategic and tactical interests. This position is supportive of the position that the MDC is a front of imperialist forces as the Mugabe administration maintains.
What is the MDC's minimum programme of action? Does it mean that the MDC is of the view that it is possible to realise its objectives without mobilising the masses of the people and without their active participation in the struggle? Official documents and speeches of leaders of any organisation articulating popular democratic grievances and aspirations in theory and practice reflect, among others, that it has conducted a careful and concrete study of the concrete socio-political and economic conditions in the country as well as its problems, their form and content, causes and consequences. Secondly, they reflect that it has executed the task of studying members of the society to ascertain their grievances and aspirations. This theoretical task enables it to find out which grievances and aspirations are common to the majority of the members of the society in order to base its minimum programme of action on them. This theoretical task serves the practical task of solving common grievances and achieving common aspirations. This is not the case with the MDC whose theoretical method consists of pre-conceived views of the national situation, ZANU-PF, Mugabe's administration and their alleged African allies whose support we are told is essential for their survival and also, by implication, whose withdrawal of their support is essential for the solution of the country's problems.
The MDC is not facing the critical structural and fundamental challenges progressive and revolutionary organisation are confronting. These challenges are that:
In as much as the slave cannot ask the slave-master to provide the strategy and tactics for a successful uprising of the slaves, so must we, who are hungry and treated as minors in a world of adults, also take upon ourselves the task of defining the new world order of prosperity and development for all and equality among nations of the world.
The MDC's means of mobilisation of resources for the resolution of Zimbabwe's problems is characterised by its continued efforts to attract and preserve political, ideological and economic investment of advanced capitalist countries to itself and its cause. It regards and accepts their political, ideological and economic goodwill as of crucial importance in achieving its objective to be in power so as to achieve governance, democracy and development objectives it has set for the country. This is the same issue of subordinating Zimbabwe's development to the resources of the political, economic and financial forces of developed countries. The key issue is not that these forces have proved to be not reliable when it comes to the development of Africa and that of the majority of its people, but that they are structural enemies of Africa and the masses of its people. By acting in alliance with these forces in the adoption, formulation and implementation of strategy and tactics for a successful achievement of its objectives, the MDC is providing them with powerful weapons to create Zimbabwe under its leadership in their own image.
For the weak to challenge the strong has never been easy. Neither will it be easy to challenge powerful vested interests on the current and entrenched orthodoxies about the modern world economy.(8)
When the MDC promised to march on the State House and bring "millions onto the streets" in what it regarded as the "final push" on Mugabe and the ZANU-PF to defeat them, it displayed its practical and theoretical weaknesses. Jono Waters maintained that because of its lack of appropriate strategy and tactics, it failed to capture the imagination of Zimbabweans in the process.
However, it was a promise that the MDC failed to come close to achieving. Almost no one turned out, partly because of the heavy state security presence, but largely because of the MDC's own lack of organisation, unimaginative ideas and ability to play straight into government hands.
Waters provides some of the key reasons why the MDC maintains the position that the solution to Zimbabwe's problems is external, not internal and that external factors, not internal factors, have been crucial for survival of the Mugabe administration.
The MDC as a party is disorganised and has been slow to capitalise on building structures in the "high density suburbs" or townships, where most of its support is. I regularly asked my staff if they were going to take part in MDC mass action. No, because firstly they don't know what to do as there is no organisation and secondly, they reckoned someone else would do the marching.(9)
There now exists what Zanu (PF) rightly calls anti-government non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who pour thousands of dollars into opposition coffers. I would go as far as to say that these NGOs have been a major contributor to the downfall of democracy in Zimbabwe.
Given its unique and frightening lack of appropriate strategy and tactics, does it mean that there is no alternative for it to defeat ZANU and assume power? Its remaining alternative is the ballot box through which to achieve this objective.
For two reasons: the government has capitalised on it by making the link with "meddling in Zimbabwe's affairs"; more importantly, people do not see an opposition leadership that struggles and thinks and feels with them. They see a bunch of greedy, US [United States] dollar salaried, Pajero drivers.
The foreign press also gives the MDC more credit than it deserves. Whether or not these "correspondents" were sitting in Johannesburg or London (where it appears most now are), or even Harare, they would draw the same pro-MDC conclusions.
When the most recent "action" [final push march] failed, the MDC was then able to hide behind an easy excuse for their inability to organise - with the foreign press being their apologists - Mugabe's brutal and despotic regime. Yes, it is brutal and despotic. But the point that keeps getting missed is that most of Zimbabwe's cowed and subjugated population appear to feel the MDC is not worth being beaten up or, let alone dying for.
Repressive regimes ultimately implode, but what sustains this one to some extent is a general lack of belief the MDC will be any better running the country.(10)
Waters correctly maintained that the MDC's "greatest mistake was" that "it did not capitalise on people's anger quickly enough" when, after the presidential election in March 2002, "the people were angry in what appeared to be a manipulated outcome."(11) It intensified this "greatest mistake" after the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission delayed to announce the results of the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections and when after more and more people agreed with it that it won not only parliamentary elections, but also the presidential elections for its leader to be the president of the country. Instead of capitalising on "people's anger" and mobilising them into decisive mass action for what it regarded as its overwhelming victory in these elections to be recognised (as Biti maintained that this recognition is essential), it displayed in theory and practice its leadership of "mediocrity, inaction and paralysis."
In a damaging e-mail note (by William Bango as Tsvangirai's spokesperson, to the party's leader based in Belgium representing it to the European Union, Grace Kwinje), the practical and theoretical weakness of Tsvangirai and the MDC are pointed out as articulated by some of its members. It was leaked to the state-owned Sunday Mail on 8 June 2008. In Bango's words:
They complain that the MDC is a spineless party with a leadership that is scared to nothing (sic). They say all kinds of unkind words for Morgan Tsvangirai ... he is a poor strategist ... he is a condom that we will quickly take off once we are satisfied with what we are doing... he is a coward, why is he not marching with everyone, why is he not in front, why is he still going to court if it is the finish push.(12)
Bango was attempting to brush aside criticisms of Tsvangirai by some party members. These criticisms of Tsvangirai constitute invaluable advice to him, his advisors and his colleagues in the leadership of the organisation. Tsvangirai has continued refusing to recognise this advice in theory and practice by not willingly seeing to it that the organisation critically assess its theoretical positions as it confronts the practical question as to what is to be done to achieve its strategic and tactical objectives. The critical assessment of positions is a task specified by political practice, as any serious organisation constituting the realisation of the unity of theory and practice under the dominance of practice confronts the current situation for its concrete understanding, confrontation and resolution.
After the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission delayed to announce the results of the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections and when after more and more people agreed it won parliamentary and presidential elections for him to be the president of the country, Tsvangirai went into a self-imposed exile concentrating on mobilising diplomatic pressure against Mugabe. Instead of capitalising on the immediate post-March 2008 electoral crisis and mobilising Zimbabweans into decisive mass action for what the MDC regarded as its overwhelming victory in these elections to be recognised and affirmed, he displayed in theory and practice his leadership of "mediocrity, inaction and paralysis" by refusing to return to the country to lead the presidential run-off election campaign. He cited an alleged plot by the military to assassinate him as the reason behind his decision of postponing his return to the country. Zimbabwean analysts maintained that regardless of the security danger he may have faced, his absence from the country to lead from the front raised negative questions about his leadership qualities and his willingness to put his safety or security on the line at the crucial time when the MDC constantly maintained that many of its members and supporters were being killed and continue being killed.
John Makumbe, political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe maintained that if Tsvangirai "doesn't come back" home "he will be demonstrating that he is fearful of Mugabe, therefore he is less of a leaders than Mugabe and that will have very serious implications on his qualities as a leader."(13) Bill Saidi, deputy editor of the independent newspaper The Standard, maintained that, through his self-imposed exile, Tsvangirai has created impression that he is more concerned about his security than that of the members and supporters of the organisation under his leadership. This is "not heroism at all. If you are in a struggle ... and if you are not in front to back your people, then you weaken the struggle."(14) According to Jonathan Moyo, former Minister of Information and Publicity, Tsvangirai is damaging his reputation as a leader prepared to be with the members and supporters of the party. Maintaining that at issue is "not about losing or winning the runoff, but his credibility as a national leader who is able to be with the people" and that he should "stop behaving like an opposition leader and behave like a leader of a government-in-waiting." He concludes: "All national leaders are under daily security threat but they don't allow those threats to shape their agenda. You can't wish to be president of Zimbabwe by remote control. Each day he spends out of the country is very costly to him."(15)
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson, attempted to gloss over Tsvangirai's prolonged self-imposed exile by maintaining that questions should be raised about Mugabe and his administration rather than about Tsvangirai and the MDC. For him: "The issue is about violence and the killing of people and the pressure should be put on the Zanu (PF) regime to end the violence. The regime is on the rampage."(16) Eldred Masunungure, political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, like Makumbe, Saidi and Moyo, disagrees with Chamisa's position. His position is that Tsavngirai's decision to stay outside the country at such a crucial time in the history of the struggle of the organisation to defeat the ZANU-PF "is ill-advised and very damaging." The point is that: "Once you decide to get into politics you should be prepared to take risks. You should be prepared to take risks. You should not be like a general who abandons his troops at a crucial moment."(17) Central to this criticism is that, by going into self-imposed exile and prolonging it, he betrayed the trust of the MDC members and supporters and the national confidence in himself. He enabled Mugabe and ZANU-PF to recapture the ground they lost and set the agenda impelling him and the MDC to react to it. If leaders of political parties declaring to be for popular social change indicate that they are not willing to risk their lives and possessions for the achievement of their strategic and tactical objectives, why should their members and supporters do what they are not prepared to do? Responding to this criticism levelled against him even by some of his allies and supporters, he ended his self-imposed exile on 24 May 2008 by leaving South Africa for Zimbabwe.
The position defended by Phimister and Raftopoulos that the support of Mbeki has been crucial for survival of the Mugabe administration is also defended by Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai continues blaming South African foreign policy towards Zimbabwe for its problems. He continues demanding that President Thabo Mbeki should contribute towards their resolution. The MDC under his leadership has failed to provide external actors with platforms to contribute towards support to the resolution of Zimbabwe's problems. It has failed to provide them with platforms to render support to itself. Addressing the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Southern Africa on 13 February 2008 in Johannesburg, he pointed out that Mbeki should have "a little courage" by criticising Mugabe in public since he does not have to fear that Mugabe would send him to jail. Mbeki "can break his policy of quiet support for the dictatorship in Zimbabwe" and "add his voice to those demanding free and fair elections in Zimbabwe." Mbeki does not need to fear to face risks members and supporters of the opposition are taking on a daily basis. He "can do it without taking the risks that we taking. He won't be arrested, teargassed, beaten, charged with treason, he won't see his supporters killed." He continued: "Only a little courage is required - the courage to speak the unpleasant truth, the courage to see what is before him." Mbeki "owes it to our common African humanity; he owes it to his own people - who are seeing refugees streaming into their cities, taking their jobs, crowding their cities, dying on their streets" in South Africa. Tsvangirai warned that if Mbeki does not solve Zimbabwe's problems, South Africa might soon be "overwhelmed by the tragedy of Zimbabwe." In his words: "President Mbeki, if you won't do it for us, if you won't do it for Africa, do it for your own country. Do it for your legacy. You have invited the world to see what freedom and democracy has done for South Africa [and] for the World Cup. Do not allow your South Africa to be overwhelmed by the tragedy of Zimbabwe."(18) Why if Mbeki does not solve Zimbabwe's problems, South Africa might soon be "overwhelmed by the tragedy of Zimbabwe?" One of the reasons why is because, according to him, the 29 March elections were not going to be free and fair. This line of reasoning is not new. It is what the MDC faction under his leadership has been saying, that South Africa should contribute towards resolution of Zimbabwe by acting against Mugabe. Its supporters have been regarding Mugabe as authoritarian, corrupt and a dictator who has been stealing elections since the MDC posed a serious challenge to his rule in the 2000 elections. He is seen as a threat to the socio-political and economic development and progress not only of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, but also of the whole African continent, Africa's initiatives such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development and Africa's relations with the Western European countries. Leaders of developed countries have exerted pressure upon the leaders of Southern African countries to join them in condemning Mugabe, demanding that South Africa should play a leading role in acting against Mugabe because of what they regard as his administration's violations of human rights.
It is interesting to note that leaders of developed countries and their allies throughout the world do not criticise atrocious violations of human rights in some other countries. At issue is hypocrisy or double standards on their part. Khathu Mamaila maintains that hypocrisy or double standards of the West has helped Mugabe to maintain his grip on power. He cites some "crimes" constantly mentioned in the criticism of the Mugabe administration. These are examples of this hypocrisy or these double standards. Firstly, is the issue of the suppression of the media by the Mugabe administration. Mamaila maintains that on this issue, the Mugabe administration "is not the worst." He cites "the case of two Ethiopian journalists arrested for "outrage against the constitution." They "face execution or life sentence if convicted. There is no public outrage about this" from the West and the fundamentalist critics of the Mugabe administration. There are other "worse humanitarian crises on the continent" and throughout the world. He cites the case of the genocide in Darfur and "unending fighting" in the Democratic Republic of Congo.(19)
Mamaila maintains that at issue in the hypocrisy or double standards of the West and its allies is "the need to understand the lack of legitimacy of the anti-Mugabe efforts." On the so-called invasion of the Zimbabwean land by African Zimbabweans, his position is that those who attacked Mugabe for "giving" Africans land "lacked legitimacy because they have failed to condemn the obscenity of fewer than 4000 white farmers owning more than 70% of the arable land."(20) These forces lack legitimacy primarily because they are leaders and theoreticians of the forces of the sagacious dispensation of legitimised rapacity and sanctioned organised theft on an international scale. This system structurally protects thieves who transform themselves into legitimate owners who invoke the rule of law and order upon establishing themselves in possession of what they have stolen including the land.
Leaders of developed countries and their allies focus exclusively on human rights issues in the country. Despite governance, democracy and development challenges it is facing, Zimbabwe since achievement of its political independence in 1980 held elections every five years. Its record of holding elections is more progressive than that of a considerable number of African countries. Opposition political parties participated in these elections. This development has not been the case with some allies of the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain in Africa. Some of them are unelected presidents of their countries. Gordon Brown himself is an unelected prime minister of his country. Seretse Ian Khama of Botswana, the son of the country's first president, and Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola are unelected presidents of their countries. Some of their allies in the continent refuse to subject themselves to procedural motions of transparent, credible, free and fair elections. Leaders of developed countries and their allies do not criticise them. When they criticise some of them, their criticism is moderate if not insignificant.
The United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain demanded the immediate resignation of Mugabe and his handover of state political power to Tsvangirai after their satisfaction that their ally overwhelmingly defeated him in the March 2008 presidential elections. This position was articulated, among others, by the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer. The MDC maintained and defended this position. Its allies regarded this development as their historical opportunity to effect regime change in the country they have chosen for this process. African countries refused to join developed countries in their demand that Mugabe should leave office. They are fully aware of their regime change agenda in the country and their hypocrisy and double standards. The United States initially supported the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya despite international opposition to the obvious rigging that characterised the 27 December 2007 presidential elections and the national and international popular position that the process was won by Raila Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement. The Bush administration sent its glowing congratulations to Kibaki and the Kenyan Electoral Commission urging "all candidates to accept the Commission's results." Kibaki, the leader of the Party of National Unity, a staunch ally of the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and a leader of the "frontline state in the global war on terrorism" had to be supported. The issue of their interests is primary in relation to their declared commitment to good governance and human rights including transparent, credible, free and fair elections. Their practice of hypocrisy or double standards applies to other countries throughout the world.
Business Day in its 15 May 2008 editorial entitled, 'Scapegoats' maintains that "there is a convincing argument that Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" is directly responsible for much of the influx of Zimbabweans."(xxi) Tony Leon, foreign affairs spokesperson of the Democratic Alliance, quoted approvingly The Economist statement of April 2008 that "South Africa's president has prolonged Zimbabwe's agony."(21) This position basically means that South Africa is responsible for socio-political and economic problems which have led not only Zimbabweans, but also people of other countries to leave their countries for South Africa and other countries. Mbeki and South Africa are used as scapegoats for governance, democracy and development failures of some countries.
According to this position, the African National Congress (ANC), not the MDC, not to mention the Zimbabwean African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) which is regarded as the problem, is central not only to sustaining Zimbabwe's national problems, but also to their solution. It is obvious that this position is incorrect and that it degrades the people of Zimbabwe. Those who maintain and defend it are fully aware of this reality. They do not believe their propaganda. The fact that this position is incorrect is not the issue. The issue is what it intends to achieve. It is the tactical means to achieve the strategic objective. Central to its demands is that the ANC government should allow itself to be used as the organisational means to effect regime change for the MDC to be in power in Zimbabwe for the advancement of the strategic interests of imperialism and its allies. One of these demands is that the ANC should "play a role in getting rid of Mugabe" for it to set "a precedent" for itself and to see itself having "taken a step along the road from revolutionary liberation movement to political party"(23) or for South Africa not to implement the theoretical understanding that "so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power, or it will not be independent."(24) It is a tragedy of Zimbabwean politics of opposition that as the leading opposition political party striving to be in power, the MDC continues regarding individuals maintaining these positions as its supporters - individuals who have proved through their works including writings that they are against the interests of Africa and its masses of people. It has failed to mobilise the masses of the Zimbabwean people into decisive mass action to achieve its objective to be in power. Its only remaining alternative to defeat ZANU-PF is through the ballot box. If it assumes power, will it be able to meet the demands of its powerful external supporters without meeting the national popular demands, particularly of the working class in the cities and urban areas which constitutes its crucial support base? Will it not be regarded as lacking the political will in the language of structural adjustment programme in managing national affairs in its exercise of political power?
Why has the MDC failed to provide alternative vision and agenda of the future Zimbabwe to that offered by leaders of imperialist countries and the international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank controlled by these countries? The strategic tasks confronting the masses of Zimbabweans are primarily political, not economic. Who should be their national president and why? How should their national problems be resolved? What should be the nature of the future Zimbabwe's relations with its regional and continental African countries and the rest of the world, particularly imperialist countries? How best and effectively to improve the material conditions of the millions of Zimbabweans? These are some of the questions which should be answered to the satisfaction of the majority of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe's national problems should be viewed beyond the conflict between the MDC and the ZANU-PF and their leaders. The centrality of their resolution is the issue of confronting them in the resolute struggle against internal and external enemies and to transform the society's governance, democracy and development dynamics in the interest of the masses of its people. Briefly, at issue is the struggle to effect the fundamental socio-political, economic and ideological transformation of the state and the society, not only a rearrangement at the top of the society. It is on this strategic issue central to the resolution of the Zimbabwean national problems that the MDC is lacking. This explains why a considerable number of individuals maintain that the solution to Zimbabwe's problems lies within ZANU-PF, not within the MDC. The struggle to resolve these problems including power relations between imperialist countries and the country are fought within ZANU-PF, not within the MDC. Zimbabwe's contribution to the struggle against imperialism regionally in Southern Africa, continentally in Africa and beyond the continent will serve the country under the leadership of ZANU-PF, not of the MDC.
Dr. Sehlare Makgetlaneng is a social science researcher with Governance and Democracy research unit of the Africa Institute of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa.
- Thabo Mbeki's statement at the Extra-Ordinary Southern African Development Community Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 29 March 2007.
- Ian Phimister and Brian Raftopolous, "Mugabe, Mbeki and the Politics of Anti-Imperialism," Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 31, No. 101, September 2004, p. 385.
- Dumisani Muleya, "Zimbabwe suffers in total paralysis," Business Day (Johannesburg), 12 May 2008, p. 11.
- Barney Mthombothi, "Why Mugabe still wields power?" The Star (Johannesburg), 3 November 2004, p. 14.
- Khathu Mamaila, "Double Trouble: Hypocrisy helps Mugabe to maintain his grip on power," City Press (Johannesburg), 22 July 2007, p. 22.
- Tendai Biti, "Zimbabwe: where to now?" Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), May 16 to 22, 2008, p. 33.
- Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Speech of the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, at the Opening of the Ministerial Meeting of the X11 Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Durban, South Africa, 31 August 1998, X11 Summit Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Durban 1998: Basic Documents, 29 August to 3 September 1998, Durban, South Africa, Pretoria: Department of Foreign Affairs, 1998, p. 230.
- Jono Waters, "Failed 'big push' on Mugabe exposes hubris of MDC," Business Day (Johannesburg), 30 June 2003, p. 11.
- William Bango, quoted in Waters, "Failed 'big push' on Mugabe exposes hubris of MDC," p. 11
- John Makumbe, quoted in Susan Njanji, "'You can't be president by remote control': Tsvangirai's stayaway is 'damaging his credibility,'" Business Day (Johannesburg), 20 May 2008, p. 7.
- Bill Saidi, quoted in Njanji, "'You can't be president by remote control': Tsvangirai's stayaway is 'damaging his credibility,'" p. 7.
- Jonathan Moyo, quoted in Njanji, "'You can't be president by remote control': Tsvangirai's stayaway is 'damaging his credibility,'" p. 7.
- Nelson Chamisa, quoted in Njanji, "'You can't be president by remote control': Tsvangirai's stayaway is 'damaging his credibility,'" p. 7.
- Eldred Masunungure, quoted in Njanji, "'You can't be president by remote control': Tsvangirai's stayaway is 'damaging his credibility,'" p. 7.
- Address by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, to the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Southern Africa, February 13, 2008 (www.fcasa.co.za/PDFs/morgan%20Tsvangirai/speech), page 3 of 7.
- Khathu Mamaila, "Double Trouble: Hypocrisy helps Mugabe to maintain his grip on power," City Press (Johannesburg), 22 July 2007, p. 22.
- Business Day, "Scapegoats," Business Day (Johannesburg), 15 May 2008, p. 12.
- The Economist, quoted in Tony Leon, "South Africa and Zimbabwe," Business Day (Johannesburg), 29 April 2008, p. 9.
- John Kane-Berman, "Good time to reconsider ANC-Zanu (PF) kinship," Business Day (Johannesburg), 15 May 2008, p. 13.
- Amilcar Cabral, Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings of Amilcar Cabral, New York and London: Monthly Review Press, 1979, p. 116.