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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
elections: Ncube the underdog' fights back
and Kudzai Mashininga, Mail and Guardian (SA)
July 19, 2013
and opinion polls ruling out his chances of causing an upset in
the July 31 elections, Welshman Ncube, the leader of the splinter
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is ready for his first
presidential election contest.
confidence in the fact that he has been on the campaign trail since
2011, when he assumed party leadership much longer than his main
opponents MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai and Zanu-PF’s Robert
Mugabe, who only began campaigning this month.
He spoke to
the Mail & Guardian this week.
is your party taking part despite indications that the election
will be disputed?
There are things that we are unhappy about such as that the election
date was unilaterally proclaimed, that the Supreme Court is under
the captivity of politicians and the shotgun nomination of candidates
that took place.
But it doesn’t
serve any purpose to pull away from a fight, even though we have
our hands tied behind our backs. We cannot give Zanu-PF a free run,
as the ongoing manipulation is meant to give them an edge. If Zanu-PF
were to win, then the new Constitution
will be subject to the whims of one party, which could change it
as and when it pleases to.
We need to give
the people a chance to express themselves even if the grounds are
unfair. If we walk away from participating in this election, we
deny the people the right to express themselves.
view, did Mugabe manage to have his way regarding an early
Mugabe has not had his way at all. Remember that they were pushing
for an election in 2011, in 2012, then as early as March this year.
Now the poll has only been granted for the end of July.
difference in the date of the poll does not suggest that they have
had their way.
Court gave them an election earlier than we had wanted because we
insisted on the outstanding things that have not yet been attended
are your views on the coalition that Tsvangirai announced last week
that excluded you?
It is their coalition with Simba Makoni and his company. We have
no interest to participate in it at all.
feel pressured to form a coalition with Tsvangirai to challenge
Political parties are formed to pursue certain ideologies, values
and principles. Those that believe in the same political agenda
As for us, we
have no pressure to coalesce with political parties with which
we have no similar ideas, values and principles.
election goes to a run-off, who will you back?
We hope it does not happen. We hope the people will vote for us
are there and they are clear. The people of Zimbabwe must vote decisively
and we don’t have to go through the pain
that we went through in 2008.
does your manifesto differ from Zanu-PF and the MDC-T?
Our model is opposed to the Zanu-PF and the MDC-T model, which is
empowering people from the centre and advocates for a centralised
state that must redistribute national resources.
We argue that
we cannot have a patrimonial state; we must use the skills to grow
at local level and have the centre to only mediate. The failure
of this government is because it is an all-appropriating state;
it tries to run everything from one point.
be allowed to develop their own areas. Therefore we want devolution
for local governance, devolution of power and sectors such as health
gives you the edge compared with the other candidates?
I bring to the table youthfulness, fresh ideas, commitment and I
have a conviction in the power of the people to choose their leaders
fear that the military will reject an election outcome that does
not endorse Mugabe as the winner?
We have been concerned by the military stance, but we are not afraid;
we remain concerned. The manipulation of the voters’ roll
in urban areas where Zanu-PF has no strong support and the prevention
of people from registering are things that have made us wary.
process has been so bad that many people have been prevented from
registering by the securocrats.
are threatening the people’s democratic right and we have
an unprofessional security sector that is partisan.
we believe that no armed force can be able to stop the will of the
leader’s supporters respond to rallying cry
at the Welshman Ncube-led MDC election campaign launch in Chikomba
at the weekend said that come August 1, everyone with a truck must
head to President Robert Mugabe’s residence State House because
he would be in need of transport to ferry his goods to his rural
home in Zvimba after his electoral defeat.
No one, from
ordinary people to party officials, at the rally in Mashonaland
East spoke well of the Zanu-PF leader or of the party itself.
One thing was
evident though; if the numbers at the manifesto launch mean anything,
Ncube’s formation still lives in the shadow of its rival led
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Ncube’s launch
drew roughly 1 000 supporters, compared with Tsvangirai’s
10 000 in Marondera two weeks ago.
But at the Madzivire
High School grounds, Ncube’s supporters appeared to be oblivious
to the fact that their party is going into the elections carrying
the underdog tag.
On the way to
the venue, they chanted slogans and sang a string of songs that
displayed their frustration with the current political and economic
attended the rally appeared all too grateful to be handed party
t-shirts, the only freebies on offer.
sei tichiurayiwa, tingararame sei tichidzvanyirirwa? (How can we
survive when we are being butchered, how can we survive under a
dictatorship?),” the crowd sang as Ncube took to the podium.
For them, Mugabe
is not the only leader who has failed them. Tsvangirai is now also
part of the gravy train, and to them their leader remained the only
politician in the inclusive government who had not been corrupted.
yeminda ngaichipera. Tsvangirai atadza ngaabude. Mugabe atadza ngaabude.
Welshman agona ngaapinde (We must conclude the land issue. Mugabe
has failed, he must leave. Tsvangirai has failed, he must leave.
Welshman must come in),” so the song continued.
camp attempted to strike a balance by having an interpreter for
Shona and Ndebele speakers, and the people who addressed the crowd
chose to speak in the language they preferred.
When he spoke,
Ncube appeared sure that he’d take the highest office, but
also gave an impression that he had budgeted for a possible electoral
Mugabe out not because we hate him as a person. We want him out
because of the corrupt leadership he has given this country,”
said Ncube, who is also the minister of industry and commerce.
in hunger because he has made us poor … Clinics and hospitals
have no medication, have no doctors and nurses. Most schools look
to ask yourself is, is it possible for Mugabe to undo the destruction
of 33 years at 90 years old?
for Zanu-PF is a vote for the continuation of hunger, it is a vote
for poverty, and it’s a vote for suffering.”
In sharp contrast
to the MDC-T and Zanu-PF rallies, Ncube’s battle appeared
to be a lone one.
The MDC rallies
are characterised by the delivery of solidarity messages from labour,
nongovernmental organisations and student bodies, while Zanu-PF
banks on praises from war veterans and indigenisation and empowerment
Apart from the
attendance of Zapu’s leader Dumiso Dabengwa, Ncube seems to
be on his own. Dabengwa, himself a former Zanu-PF home affairs minister,
has joined Ncube to support his presidential bid.
Only one university
student not representing any union went to the platform and gave
a speech condemning Mugabe, saying that at his advanced age, there
was no way Mugabe could connect with young voters who he termed
the “Facebook generation” as he was divorced from their
A woman supporter
also berated Tsvangirai for his womanising behaviour.
But before the
rally ended, Ncube had words of advice for his supporters: “This
election is a do-or-die election. It’s an election to decide
whether you go backwards or forwards, it’s an election to
provide a turning point for Zimbabwe. Don’t betray the
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