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arrogance takes over the people-s struggle
September 18, 2007
One thing that has stood
out concerning the MDC rift is the principle of prioritisation.
The very basis of the genesis of any political formation is an attempt
to usher in a new beginning.
This is a self-evident
truth in all struggles for democracy, and this itself is informed
by popular sentiment that those who had been looked up to as liberators
- be it from white colonial rule or from another increasingly
useless black regime - have outlived their relevance in the
national discourse of politics and economics.
While these struggles
within the political gladiators previously belonging to the same
school of thought litter history, they have left a lot of observers
and supporters confounded as to what happened to what had been a
very noble and promising beginning.
How could it all fizzle
like some voodoo incantations were responsible for their ignominious
fate of still birth? However, history will show that what has tainted
hugely popular opposition movements in this wretched continent is
the shift from the centre to outside.
The nucleus of all pre
and post-independence African political parties and formations has
always been the burning desire by men and claim brave enough to
claim leadership to liberate the so-called masses.
The movement began and
begins with the people being central to the cause, and because all
struggles are waged with gallant men and women taking up to the
podium as the people-s representatives, this becomes the basis
of a veritable people driven push for popular democracy.
But when the movement
shifts to the periphery with priorities seemingly shifting from
the centre and to areas where the "ordinary masses"
that have indisputable claim to the birth of that organised political
formation, they justifiably become agonised by such developments.
The irony then is seemingly
that, movement to the outside would assume extending from the leadership
to the people, but no, it is the people who form the nucleus, not
the politicians. It is the people who accept leaders not vice versa,
but then politicians have tended to fashion themselves as forming
the core of the struggle for democracy, but it is known no struggle
is waged successfully from air-conditioned environs: it is the people
who take the beatings on the road to democracy.
In the wake of the MDC
split, what has emerged in the streets - at least in Bulawayo,
but one gets the esoteric feeling this sentiment is nationwide considering
the mass unpopularity of Zanu PF - people power has disappeared
from this struggle which began so beautifully in 1999.
I have spoken to a number
of people here and they will tell you they are not voting next year,
but these are the same young people who came out in their numbers
in 2000 to hoist the opposition to national and international prominence
as the David who nearly slew what was seen as the increasingly despotic
Yet the reasons remain
that this is a struggle that has been taken from the people to the
politicians for some reasons the people are yet to understand. And
then the usual wise guy said something like, Zanu PF never rigs
elections: if the ruling party has five supporters who vote and
the "popular" opposition has ten who do not vote, what
do you expect?
What informs such frustrations
is the feeling among potential voters and erstwhile supporters that
if politicians bicker on a personal level, what then do they have
to offer on a national level where you have an amalgamation of divergent
beliefs outside the volatility of politics?
Prioritisation has moved
from politicians being given relevance by the people to politicians
seeking to make themselves relevant to themselves and seemingly
to the national psyche. Just do not let the people forget we exist!
Yet you might indeed exist but with no relevance to anything like
Zanu PF! And that is the beginning of the struggle being reduced
to levels of levity.
This has been seen in
parties which claim ownership of any struggle where you have hardliners
ignoring the very principles that sprang them to power simply for
the sake of power. And we know with power comes wealth and with
The opposition political
parties are in great danger of showing us and the world they are
no better than the so-called founding fathers. While the ruling
party bickers with whispers and innuendos, some opposition officials
appear to think they have to convince us of their relevance by shouting
political inanities at their perceived opponents within the opposition
movement who have shunned a call to united arms, apparently all
in bid to win hearts and minds ahead of March 2008.
To the man on the street
who watched with awe the rise of the workers- movement, civic
groups and intellectuals coming together in a bid to reclaim their
beloved country from pillagers, the whole excitement about March
2008 and the much-hyped Mbeki talks remains to them nothing but
For many however, the
fact of the matter is that in the absence of a united opposition,
the people of Zimbabwe remain just where there have always been:
But then, as some politicians
have already proven, when priorities shift from being people-centred
to anything else that seeks some kind of arcane academic or intellectual
interpretation, that becomes the very sign that this revolution
will never be televised. Why? Because it will never happen without
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