One of the biggest political events in Zimbabwe so far this year, the MDC-T congress, kicks off on Thursday in the City of Kings, Bulawayo.
Zimbabweans will obviously be following with keen interest developments at the elective congress of a party that almost wrested power from Zanu PF’s vice-like grip during the 2008 harmonised elections.
Events leading to the congress amply demonstrated that this meeting will not be like the choreographed Zanu PF congresses where sycophants will be trying to outdo each other in singing praises to “Our Dear Leader”, President Robert Mugabe, and choosing their leaders from set templates handed down to them by their political godfathers.
There was serious jockeying for positions in the build-up to Thursday’s event, a good sign of intra-party democracy, but this was spoilt by the violence that marred some of the meetings in the provinces to choose new leaders.
In Bulawayo, it took the intervention of the MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to quell the infighting between the Gorden Moyo and Matson Hlalon factions and allow democracy to take its full course.
We hope the cancer of violence will not resurface during the congress and the wishes of the members of the party from all four corners of Zimbabwe will prevail at the end of the day.
Needless to say, if the MDC-T entertains any hopes of being the next ruling party in Zimbabwe, it will have to demonstrate maturity in the manner in which it handles its internal affairs.
Otherwise, sckeptics will correctly question the party’s ability to run a whole government when it cannot manage affairs in its organisation.
The adage, charity begins at home, is apt at this juncture.
It is also our hope that apart from contests for power, the MDC- T will take the time to deliberate on pressing challenges facing the whole nation, not just political issues relating, for instance, to the roadmap to national elections but also social issues relating to poverty, unemployment and a host of other problems that keep the ordinary Zimbabwean awake all night.
The MDC-T is part of the coalition government and should be seen coming up with solutions to the problems haunting the nation instead of continuously moaning as if it is still an outright opposition party.
Acknowledged there are problems in the coalition government relating to treatment of the two MDC formations by Zanu PF as junior partners in the arrangement, but Zimbabweans still expect the two parties to use their political stamina to stand up to the bully that the former ruling party is and implement policies that will deliver us to the promised Canaan.
Last but not least, the decision itself to hold the congress in Bulawayo is laudable as it in line with MDC-T’s professed preference for decentralisation as encapsulated in the concept of devolution of power.