People thought the coming of the Movement for Democratic Change would usher a new era where people would concentrate on building democratic institutions but the MDC became synonymous with Morgan Tsvangirai to the extent that the party had to amend its constitution to allow him to lead the party until he died in office.
Mnangagwa seems to have inherited the mantle from Mugabe and within months of winning the elections people were already talking about 2023 instead of the bread and butter issues that Mnangagwa promised to the people.
But the situation seems to be worse in the MDC. Despite assuming power quite controversially, it is now Chamisa chete chete. Nothing wrong with having a popular leader but the problem is barring or intimidating any challengers.
Indeed, the same has applied to ZANU-PF over the years, but the MDC is supposed to be righting what ZANU-PF has been and is doing wrong. Yet it appears that intolerance is worse in the MDC.
At least things are better in ZANU-PF because the party has always been stronger than its leader when it comes to voting.
Mugabe never won more votes than all the ZANU-PF MPs combined. Even last year Mnangagwa got less votes that ZANU-PF MPs winning 50.8 or 50.6 percent depending on the figures one uses but the party got 52.4 percent of the vote.
MDC MPs never won more votes than Tsvangirai. The situation got worse under Chamisa. He polled 44.3 percent of the vote but his legislators only polled 34.3 percent of the votes.
In figures the difference between the votes ZANU-PF MPs won and those for Mnangagwa was less than 20 000.
The gap between the votes for Chamisa and those for his MPs was a staggering 500 000. If one were to use Chamisa’s own 2.6 million figure which he claims to have won, he would have obtained one million more votes than his legislators combined.
To make matters worse, despite his popularity, Chamisa is now talking about being anointed by Tsvangirai. Does it really matter? How about if Tsvangirai had said his daughter Vimbai should take over, would the party have accepted that?
Mnangagwa’s new dispensation promised that it will now be economy first and politics second, but the song remains the same.
Perhaps the question is, whose responsibility is it to build strong institutions? Is it the responsibility of politicians and the people?
The answer is very simple. Politicians can never change a formula that works for them. For how long can the people endure the politics of suffering and smiling?