What is really at play in the MDC?

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HARARE – It is probably easier at the moment to groom a skunk -— that stinky cat-sized mammal that sprays a foul-smelling liquid from its backside when it is threatened by an attacker -— than it is to make sense of the MDC’s current squabbles, their genesis and what the infighting is supposed to achieve.

How else are Zimbabweans supposed to look at this bizarre conflict within the party’s leadership when there is seemingly nothing to gain from this insane self-asphyxiation?

It is entirely understandable when Zanu PF “chefs” club each other to death year in and year out in their faction-riddled party, because they are fighting for a slice of a significant patronage system and access to real resources —- such as diamonds, multiple farms, fat State tenders and obscene pay cheques like those unmasked by the media over the past few weeks.

It is, however, exactly the opposite in the MDC, where for most of the activists there is only pain, poverty, sacrifice and a piffling of drying donor funds.

So why this orgy of chaos and propensity for self-destruction?

At the weekend, for example, the nation was told of attacks on some of the leaders of the party after a meeting in Harare.

The victims of these alleged attacks virtually fingered their own party leader in these
assaults.

By yesterday, however, a different picture was emerging, amid claims that party president Morgan
Tsvangirai was in fact the unsung hero who saved deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and secretary-general Tendai Biti from a savage lynching by an irate mob outside Harvest House that was baying for the blood of the two gentlemen.

So, which is which in this sordid tale?

Were Mangoma and Biti assaulted or not, and why? Was Tsvangirai complicit in their disputed harassment and how? And why is there no record of this crime being reported to the police?

All this leaves despondent Zimbabweans asking what the hell is going on in the MDC?

We fully understand that when a political party loses as dismally as the MDC did in last year’s elections, notwithstanding the controversies that accompanied those elections, there is always going to be some blood-letting. It’s inevitable.

The shattering reality and pain of defeat, particularly when the party naively believed that it could beat all the odds stacked against it, including unfulfilled Global Political Agreement (GPA) tenets, is always such that both paralysis and confusion reign — and people begin to look for scapegoats to blame for their predictable loss.

Throw in a piffling of donor funds, a few egos and unbridled ambition in the mix, and you have a toxic cocktail that makes Zed look like fruit juice!

While this is not the whole story, it surely partly explains what is at play within the MDC — and it is a red hot recipe for disaster, where none of the combatants come out of this smelling of roses or with anything to gain.

Let it be known that the squabbling leaders of the MDC are betraying the aspirations of ordinary Zimbabweans who have entrusted them with the job of strengthening democracy in the country over the past 15 years.

And come 2018, these selfish —- if not incompetent — egomaniacs must not cry foul when Zanu PF romps to yet another “landslide” victory; because they are once again taking their eyes off the ball at a crucial time of the country’s history.

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