BULAWAYO – The MDC led by Welshman Ncube is one party that may have certainly triggered sleepless nights to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, as the recent harmonised elections approached.
Having done everything to prove his relevance in Zimbabwe’s heavily contested political arena, Ncube’s party seems to be struggling to rise to the shore after being thrown into the doldrums during the elections, head first.
Perhaps it was being let down by the people of Matabeleland region, his perceived stronghold where he undertook a massive campaign on several occasions long before elections were held.
While it might be too early to talk about the party’s future, a combination of regrettable events within its realm two months after elections seems to be suggesting otherwise.
It all started with the belated response on their position with regard to the election results, followed by an unusual silence in the political discourse, squabbles over the imposition of party secretary-general Priscilla Misihairambwi on the Umzingwane constituency and now the departure of one of Ncube’s right handman, Qhubani Moyo, which leaves the party open to public chatter.
Moyo was the director of policy and research co-ordination in the party.
The Daily News on Sunday spoke to political analysts who aired their views on the developments at the Bulawayo headquartered party.
Political analyst Thomas Sithole said signs were that the future was now bleak for the Ncube faction.
“I think the future is very bleak for the party. They were pulverised at the just-ended elections and morale is at its lowest ebb in the camp,” Sithole said.
He said the party needed individual, then collective, thorough and brutal self-introspection.
“Qhubani’s departure should be viewed within that context whereby people say despite pushing for what we thought was a people’s agenda especially devolution, the party gets decimated and resoundingly rejected,” Sithole said.
“It is sad some will leave politics, especially those likely to have a life outside politics.”
Sithole said the party needed to revitalise itself before it is too late.
“If nothing radical happens, that might change the fortunes of the party for the better, it will be irrelevant soon and so will be the officials within the party,” Sithole added.
He said it was common in politics that after a defeat there follows a blame game and infighting with regards to distributing limited power and influence.
He added: “Political patronage is a political vice and a cancer they are yet to cure.”
Godwin Phiri said the Ncube-led MDC was still shocked by the election results.
“The party is obviously dealing with the aftermath of a disappointing election,” Phiri said.
“Clearly, the rumblings are founded on that calamity. Disaffection needs to be dealt with openly. If this does not happen, the party may bleed membership to other parties or some may choose to leave politics,” he said.
Phiri said the departure of Moyo, if not handled properly, may further disintegrate the party.
“The resignation of Qhubani Moyo must obviously be disappointing to the party and if not managed well, it can affect morale among ordinary members,” he said.
He said the party was not supposed to take the resignation of Moyo lightly considering the timing.
“The party needs to establish whether the resignation is a result of disaffection in which case they should be worried or perhaps indeed he wants to pursue other interests in which case there will be little reason to worry.”
Phiri said that the party’s leadership certainly needed to deal with the rumblings and leadership needs to step up to the plate and provide direction.
He said the party’s silence in the on-going political discourse “gives the impression that either the leadership is clueless or has lost interest.
“Neither circumstance is ideal for the party,” he said.
“Future wise they have a mountain to climb. Generally, the future of the opposition doesn’t look too bright unless there is a serious rethink on the message and strategies to respond to a resurgent Zanu PF.
Similarly, the MDC needs to work on a new formula or they will be history,” Phiri explained.
Political analyst Roderick Fayayo said what MDC was going through was a normal phase for any party that would have suffered a massive defeat.
“It is normal for a party that suffered such kind of decimation. We are talking of a party that portrayed itself as a party of Matabeleland region then it suffered a heavy loss in the same region.
“It really takes a lot of self-introspection to get out of that trouble,” Fayayo said.
“It’s normal that when a party is down people fight for crumbs so with regard to the issue of Priscilla (Misihairambwi) it a battle for crumbs.”
Fayayo said the survival of the party now hinged on the influence of the leadership to be able to deal with the problem at hand.
“It is also very difficult to motivate people after losing everything. I will not be surprised if the party completely disintegrates,” Fayayo added.
Contacted for comment, MDC Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu defended his party.
“People should not read much into the election results as 2018 will be a different game and circumstances have already changed,” he said.