MDC congress needs a sober reflection


The Movement for Democratic Change congress held in Gweru over the weekend has raised a lot of questions about how prepared the “part of excellence” really is.

Congress dates were announced more than three months before the actual event but secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who was booted out, says the congress was sabotaged by the government because it failed to release $4.8 million that was due to the party on Wednesday, two days before the congress.

The party had said it only needed $2 million for the congress, way before the event.

In all fairness, would a reasonable person bank on getting finance to fund a party event from a government which that party does not recognise?

Granted some might argue that the MDC recognises the Zimbabwean government, it only does not recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Even then, would it be reasonable to expect Mnangagwa’s government to bail out a party one of whose leaders has promised to get him out of the power before the end of this year?

Delegates, we are told, arrived late for the congress because of transport problems. Elections that should have been held on Friday, could therefore not be conducted.

The government and its Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front are once again to blame for the fuel crisis in the country. Rightly so. But there was a shortage of fuel when the party called for its congress.

More seriously, we are told that thousands of delegates had to sleep in the open at Ascot Stadium because the party had no funds to accommodate them.

Anyone who has lived in Gweru knows how cold that town generally is. But this past weekend, the weather was even more unclement.

Isn’t it ironic that on Thursday, a day before the congress, party spokesman Jacob Mafume was quoted by Newsday as saying that the party had snapped most of the guest rooms in the city to accommodate delegates? The same report said all lodges and hotels in the city were fully booked.

“We have just ensured that most of our delegates have accommodation as preparations are at an advanced stage. We are ready for our congress,” Mafume said.

Vice-presidential candidates, Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi Kore were all reported to have donated food for the congress. Ncube 10 beasts, Biti truckloads of maize and Karenyi Kore 3 beasts.

If it had been a congress for any other party, there would have been an outcry over vote-buying. But for the MDC these were acceptable donations.

To make matters worse, the three days reserved for the congress were not enough. Vote counting spilled into Monday. The current load shedding in the country was brought into play when the congress should have ended by Sunday afternoon giving delegates time to return home.

Reflect. If the party could not conclude vote counting by 6 000 delegates in two days, was it reasonable to expect the nation to conclude vote counting by more than four million voters in one day?

Points to ponder. But this needs a sober reflection.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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