MDC-M secretary-general and Industry minister Welshman Ncube says rising to the Presidency in Zimbabwe is a “tough call” as the “politics of the country” currently doesn’t have room for progressive political parties and leaders.
The former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, who made a surprise leap onto the country’s rocky political terrain in 1999, the year MDC was launched through a loose coalition of student unions, trade unions and intellectuals, thinks the “politics” of the country is a cancer gnawing at democratic progression.
Ncube was responding to a question, in an exclusive interview, whether he harboured any presidential ambitions.
“As an individual I don’t,” Ncube said.
“To put yourself up for that in a country such as this, it’s a tough call. If you ask me if I would like to contest in an election as violent and emotionally draining as ours, l would say, ‘No, I would rather not.’ But if the party says do, I’ll do it just to comply with the wishes of the party.”
Ncube is favoured to depose incumbent leader and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara at the party’s congress next year, which would automatically earn him its candidature for the next elections slated for the same year.
DPM Mutambara, who was elevated to the helm of the faction after its breakaway from the main formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2005 over participation in senate elections, allegedly alienated himself from others with a string of infamous public statements that they deemed to have soiled the party’s ethos and manifesto.
It is widely understood Ncube personally parachuted Mutambara, who had settled in the United States as a robotics professoR, to the faction’s headship to boost its national political appeal as a supra-tribal party, amid criticism from PM Tsvangirai that the fallout was tribally-motivated.
Mutambara’s only claim to fame then was chalking up students’ protest against Zanu PF’s attempt to impose a one-party state constitution in the 1980s.
“In a political organisation, the membership from time to time chooses in whom they want to repose the responsibility of leadership,” Ncube explained. “It’s up to them whether they would want to repose in me that responsibility. We’ll know that by next year at congress. But I have said if they nominate me, I’ll not refuse. But that is not to say I’m pushing them to do that.”
Asked whether the power game in Matabeleland had changed with the reincarnation of Zapu ahead of possible elections next year, Ncube’s said MDC-M was a national party whose membership transcends regions.
The political province is widely viewed as a “swing territory” that every political party wants to control to secure victory in the next ballot.
“Matabeleland is the most contested territory in the country,” Ncube said.
“It’s the most democratic region in the country. If you look at the control of seats, it is evenly split among all the three major political parties.
“But we see ourselves as a party which has interest in all the people of Zimbabwe, capable of delivering for all the people of Zimbabwe. If we go to elections, we want to win in every province of the country because we’re a national party. “He also said the potential of Zapu was overstated.
“I don’t know how people can measure the strength of a party that has never contested an election. It is still premature to talk about its potential or influence. Maybe it’s stronger elsewhere.”