The growing war of attrition between MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC president Welshman Ncube is regrettable though not surprising. The two leaders have been at each other’s throats to the detriment of their objective to unseat Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe, who have presided over the collapse of the country.
Tsvangirai and Ncube have traded unpalatable insults, some of them bordering on stone-age politics of tribalism.
The two seem not to agree on anything. They differ on the direction of the constitution-making process, with Ncube accusing Tsvangirai of getting into bed with Mugabe when they agreed to set up a committee to deal with contentious issues in the draft charter. Ncube is also livid that Tsvangirai was siding with Mugabe to block him from ascending to the Deputy Premiership, taking over from Arthur Mutambara. The differences are too many to chronicle.
Instead of the two leaders forming a coalition to unseat Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube have resorted to trading invective at rallies. The Premier calls Ncube a village politician, while the law professor says the Premier is a bedroom politician. To whose benefit are these insults? Zimbabweans are demanding a unified force against Mugabe in next year’s elections, not the nonsense Tsvangirai and Ncube are exhibiting.
We have said it before and will say it again that there is an infantile quality to the behaviour of the men and women who are supposed to be leading the struggle against Zanu PF and Mugabe that is a shame because many ordinary people trust them with their lives. It is regrettable because it shows them succumbing to the divide-and-rule tactics perfected for so long by their supposedly common adversary, Zanu PF.
But it is hardly surprising because these parties parted ways acrimoniously in 2005 and all attempts to reunite them so far have been in vain.
The relationship broke down irretrievably a long time ago and to expect them to toe the same line on all issues is wishful thinking. This division has worked in favour of Zanu PF, which, despite its many internal problems, has remained resolutely united on the public platform.
Unlike the MDC formations, Zanu PF has long recognised that there is more that unites them than the issues that divide them.
This war of attrition hands Zanu PF a position of advantage when it already has stakes weighing in its favour.
Everyone would have thought that for parties that claim to be fighting for the democratisation of the country they would have a common interest to protect them against the main adversary that caused them to stand up and fight in the first place. An alliance of sorts would be strategic in the face of a very cunning foe.
But there is a hint of naivety on the part of the MDC formations — an unnecessary, almost childish tendency to engage in point-scoring while the nation suffers. It is a shame because once again, they will both be outwitted by the party that sees itself as the boss of all bosses. Tsvangirai and Ncube should take heed!