Written by Lameck Funduka
Thursday, 05 July 2007
I thought Mike Davis and the Combined Harare Residents Associations (Chra) were with us until I read his interview with Violet Gonda on SW Radio, attached below. Munyaradzi Gwisai who was also in the interview showed a remarkable failure to mature, or is it naked ambition on part of both gentlemen?
While acknowledging the need for unity, they tried to find any excuse they could to say the MDC was not the appropriate party to lead that unity, yet all the efforts that they were pointing to as successes in mobilising the people can be directly attributed to the MDC.
The reason is simple; they think that by acknowledging the MDC they will have lost the possibility of getting into political power themselves. I say slow down brothers; we are in this together and it's not too late to come back.
Mike has had a flirtation with organising Harare residents to demand their civic and consumer rights and now thinks they are his his people. I say, Remember Trudy Stevenson! And I do not mean it from a racial point of view, just that as soon as you lose direction they will also show you the door.
It is clear that Gwisai wants to use the now mobilised masses in his International Socialist agenda, which he does not care when it comes to fruition, as long as he has pushed worker consciousness that much further - even at the expense of postponing the deposition of the current regime and perpetuating the suffering.
Even WOZA, which was not in the interview but was being referred to as another centre for grassroots initiative, seems to be fumbling in the dark while refusing to recognise the leadership of MDC in any united movement that might succeed in mobilising the masses for the final push.
First, WOZA was part of the civic partnership, then it was not, then it was consulting its members about whether they wanted to be in the campaign, then it was demanding through the Press for that matter, representation in the SADC negotiations. I am glad it has gone back to the electrical power struggle with Zesa.
The SADC negotiations, even if they were to succeed, are not going to make Zimbabwe's future social order. It is still going to be decided by us the Zimbabweans and our Zimbabwean institutions, party cells, local community organisations, and people, WOZA and Chra included, because they are the ones working in these areas of social policy.
But demonstrating inclusion in what are essentially political negotiations between the two powers which have been recognised by the SADC as necessary to bring about the transition to peace and democracy in Zimbabwe, was completely misplaced.
The MDC through Mbeki's initiative is not negotiating the Constitution of Zimbabwe or the social policy just how Mugabe can be persuaded, pressured or otherwise kicked to step aside for the benefit of his people.
Of course the power of the MDC to be so recognised also comes from its partners, and their withdrawal weakens it, but they should recognise that they are under the umbrella of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign or the Crisis Campaign representing their particular social policies, not in the political power structure of MDC.
MDC itself is still struggling with elements within it about whether they should be united by being incorporated in the leadership, which the MDC President has said is not possible, leading to an attack from Job Sikhala at St Mary's where Sikhala said Tsvangirai is a Zanu (PF) sellout. Grapes are sour indeed.
The civics must not be deceitful and say we are fighting for children's rights, consumers' rights, civic participation rights or socialism, then, when they have opened our eyes so that we can see for ourselves that the MDC represents all these ideals, they start telling people that the MDC is not the right party to lead them trying to destroy the very house whose foundation they helped to build.
This is pure opportunism and it shows up in such contradictions. They mobilised the masses for the struggle, using their various tactics; the masses joined them, and together created the conditions for sustainable mass action. Now that the masses also see for themselves that their power to make a change comes from their united efforts and they gravitate towards the main stream, the leaders think they must stop them because they should be driving.
In one breath they criticised the international travelling and networking that the MDC leadership is doing and in the next they praise it for having been effective in mobilising the international community. It is clear they are trying to find reasons for negating the MDC for selfish reasons.
How can they be left out in race in which they never declared their intentions to run? I think it is time that opportunists within the civic movement were denounced for what they are. Their members, i.e. Chra and WOZA are already supporters if not full members of the MDC and should be told that their leaders are misleading them.
I think a clear message should go out to members that they are being led in some of these coalition partners by people who are trying to achieve political power by deceiving their members that they are fighting for residents' rights, socialism, women's or whatever it is.
Right now the crucial thing is creating a level playing field so that even the NDAs, the ZUMs, the Federal Parties and any new formations may be able to campaign freely, and in this struggle we need everybody.
When it is most crucial that they should lead their members to the united final push to create the conditions for a free and fair election, so that we can start creating the society we want, they start trying to hold back, while trying to negotiate themselves into political leadership.
Suddenly everyone wants drive the political bus. Who is going to be there still fighting for the women's rights, the community rights, for the inclusion rights for marginalised communities; who is going to oversee the drafting of a people's constitution, who is going to represent the residents of towns and cities, and hold the new political leaders to account for their promises.
Is the MDC government not going to consult these same organisations that were its partners in pushing out the dictator about its social policy? I should think in the affirmative. And, of course, if it does not they have every right to also show it some Tough Love all over again. So for me there is no privatisation of the democracy struggle by the MDC, rather there is an attempt to privatise the masses by those who are the MDC's partners and working with the masses.
Fortunately the masses have an inherent capacity to refuse to be privatised because their interests do not change - food, shelter, good living and better living, and yes participation in the running of their affairs.
Lameck Funduka, Not Far From Where You Are.
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