Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Prospect of primary elections scares both ZANU-PF and MDC ‘stalwarts’

Both the MDC and ZANU-PF are earnestly preparing for elections next year as both talk about their respective parties’ primary elections.

Interestingly, both parties always claim to be staunch democratic institutions yet both are wary and rather feel scared of unfettered, internal democracy.

You can see their reluctance to leave doors open wide enough for any individual within their parties to challenge or run for parliament.

I find it amusing that both parties are reluctant to open the doors wide enough for new so-called ‘Young Turks’ to contest in the primaries. Instead, they are both tinkering with new rules, regulations and directives which seek to limit who runs for office and how.

The reason is simple, both parties are stuffed with useless non-performing Members of Parliament who have failed to deliver and who have failed to connect with their constituents. Yet these useless old geezers are close to their parties’ leadership not to those they represent.

Neither Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai nor President Robert Mugabe would like to lose their close friends/relatives who have been hanging around them for years without doing anything to justify their presence in Parliament.
And the youngsters in both parties are clamouring for not only recognition and inclusion but for accommodation and space. They see the shortcomings of the old timers and how their non-performance is hurting their parties.

But the leaderships of both parties are reluctant and afraid to let go.

“We are preparing for primary elections and we are going to confirm the actual dates, but they will definitely be held in December,” MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told Zimbabwe’s Daily News. “First, we will hold primaries where we do not have MPs. We call these constituencies orphaned. After that we will have a confirmation election in areas where we have MPs. The aim is to weed out unpopular MPs.”

But Mwonzora should know that people care less about the popularity of a candidate and that they vote for performers and expected performance.

By reducing the number of contestants like this, the MDC is trying hard to give a helping hand to their friends, those incumbent non-performing MPs they don’t want to fall by the wayside.

“A primary election includes one or more people while in the confirmation there is only one candidate where people will decide whether they still want that person,” added Mwonzora.

This is absolute nonsense and is five thousand kilometres away from democracy. Give the people the chance to choose, period. Why limit their choices?

The MDC should be ashamed of engaging in such underhandedness to short circuit people’s choices and preferences and impose useless friends on people.

Every Member of Parliament must renew their mandate with the people at agreed intervals. This confirmation business they are talking about is just simple deceit to steal from the people by helping their non-performing sitting MPS.

Everybody must, of necessity, go through the primaries to renew their mandate while giving the voters an opportunity to choose between candidates. Those who have performed well in parliament have nothing to fear.

As their own Party Organising Secretary, Nelson Chamisa, recently said, “There are no two dip tanks in the party and there won’t be sacred cows.”

Meanwhile, ZANU-PF, a party full of lazy non-performers who survive through more praise singing than performance, is wary of primary elections because they know that their MPs are just free-loaders, passengers who don’t even know the destination of the gravy train they are riding on.

The ZANU-PF old guard, who have been in power since way back when and who now consider constituencies to be their personal fiefdoms, are very afraid of primary elections where they would be pitted against the Young Turks who seem fed up with the corrupt old geezers. They want new regulations to use during elections to protect themselves from imminent electoral defeat.

According to another daily paper in Zimbabwe, the proposed regulations on primary elections “would bar those members who have served the party for less than five consecutive years, from contesting. This would prevent many of the so-called “Young Turks” in the party from challenging the veterans in the primaries”.

Apart from the emerging Young Turks in ZANU-PF, people like the infamous serial flip-flopper, former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, would be disqualified from running for parliament on a ZANU-PF ticket.

But from the outside looking in, I am very concerned about how the MDC is mimicking ZANU-PF in just about everything it does.

In the MDC, just as in ZANU-PF, the issue of succession is not being entertained. Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, who is also deputy party president, is just as much of a political mannequin to Morgan Tsvangirai as Vice President Joyce Mujuru is to Robert Mugabe.

Surely, the MDC cannot start this deplorable political cycle now, for goodness. They have conceded too much to ZANU-PF and this has slowly shown a tendency to take their eyes off the people. Our freedoms are slowly being whittled away in the numerous compromises they continue to make.

The MDC cannot be a party associated with the curtailment of people’s freedoms. What will the MDC do should it come out the absolute winner in those elections?
Will it tolerate divergent views even from within its own ranks?

There is nothing more dangerous than a scared powerful politician and both ZANU-PF and MDC ‘stalwarts’ are genuinely afraid of primary elections. They are justified because both parties are overburdened with dead wood that has to be cast away.

If both these parties practise democracy like they constantly tell us they do, here is an opportunity for them to show us, not tell us.

We are already faced with the prospect of using a faulty constitution to hold these elections, which takes too much from the people.

Let whoever wants to run for Parliament do so but every contender must go through primary elections…no sacred cows! Parade them all before us and we will choose for ourselves.


Read this week's paper