'MDC formations will follow the dinosaurs,' says Moyo

'MDC formations will follow the dinosaurs,' says Moyo
Published: 14 October 2013 (1210 Views)
The former director of policy and research co-ordination in Professor Welshman Ncube's MDC, Mr Qhubani Moyo, who resigned from the party at the end of September, openly confesses that he has been charmed by the Zanu-PF policy documents and does not hide the fact that in making the decision to resign, he seriously considered the "persuasive political arguments" by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Professor Jonathan Moyo.

In this interview with our Assistant Editor Munyaradzi Huni (MH), Mr Moyo, who gives an interesting but honest observation that Zanu-PF beat the MDC to the devolution game, predicts that soon the two MDC formations will fracture and "follow the dinosaurs and will only exist in archival records as a once-upon-a-time case." Read on . . .

MH: As we start this interview, can you briefly tell us, as the director of policy and research co-ordination in the Prof Ncube-led MDC, what exactly were your roles and duties?

Mr Moyo: The director of research and policy co-ordination is a portfolio that needed an astute and hands-on person who had a pulse for national and international issues and understood the changing dynamics of communities and what solutions matched different situations. And I was that person. Initially I was national organising secretary and had the mammoth task of reconstruction of the party which had been literally destroyed to the ashes under the leadership of the robotics Professor (Arthur Mutambara.)

We did extremely well in that regard as the party woke up from the slumber and became a visible and credible contender in the national political matrix. When the election approached and with the need to construct a strong policy framework on how we hoped to revive Zimbabwe's fortunes, I was transferred to the position of policy director and indeed assisted the party to come up with what I still believe was the best policy document, at least on paper, but unfortunately the electorate had other ideas and rejected it in its entirety.

MH: Your resignation from the MDC at the end of September was met with mixed reactions from many quarters. A few weeks have passed now since you made the decision to resign. Do you maintain that you made the right decision and why?

Mr Moyo: My resignation was bound to be met with all sorts of reactions given that I had been extremely visible in public spaces during the lifespan of the GPA. It was not just a resignation of an ordinary pedestrian politician but one who had been very active and engaging in public debates. Most importantly my commitment to my job in the party made many people to be curious on why I was moving on. Before my departure, I made serious consultations with those who matter in my political life and they understood the importance of the move.

Over and above, I made representations to the leadership of the party and then had a discussion with Professor Ncube who understood why I thought it was important to move on. He even wished me the best. To be honest it was a difficult move because I had become emotionally attached to the Green Team, it was even more painful given that I knew I had a crucial role in that team and covered many gaps and my departure was always going to affect operations.

Even more painful was the feeling that I could be betraying Professor Ncube, especially given the amount of confidence he had in me and the fact that he gave me opportunities to showcase my talents on a national scale. But all had to be overcome because leadership is about making such painful decisions and the time had come and I moved on. I had to face realities of the new political circumstances to move on and I did. I am happy with the move and have no regrets.

MH: After your resignation, you went on to give reasons for leaving the MDC but still some people don't believe the reasons you have given so far and they say there is something you are hiding about your decision to resign. What is your comment regarding these allegations and can you briefly tell us exactly why you resigned from the MDC?

Mr Moyo: If the truth be said, I resigned because I had no confidence that the party after all the work that it did was going to be decimated the way it did. While I did not think that it would win at a national scale I was confident that with the work rate and the strategic approach employed, we were going to get a majority in Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, and Matabeleland North and pick some seats in the Midlands, seats like Vungu where the Professor had done more than what can be done to endear himself and the party.

But when we got a zero. it got me thinking and after rumination and reflections it dawned on me that we were totally rejected by the entire country and, most importantly, by the people of Matabeleland where our dismal performance was inconceivable.

But another painful thing that got me to feel betrayed was the choices that people from our region were making. For instance, the kind of MPs and councillors that were fielded by MDC- T and people voted for got me thinking that the electorate's view of leadership is not what we thought. A simple example is when we had a prominent lawyer, Matshobana Ncube, contesting and losing somewhere in Bulawayo while his messenger contested and won in the same town.

You ask, so this is the leadership that our people want and conclude that if that is what they want, then I am not going to be part of a process where there is promotion and celebration of mediocrity. Having come to terms with the reality that resuscitation of the party was a near-impossibility, I decided to leave because I had no energy to move on with opposition politics and now want to contribute to national processes as an academic or in private enterprise.

MH: When you resigned, the MDC national spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube, said "it is indeed sad to see our comrade disembark from the devolution train". As someone who was responsible for policy and research co-ordination, tell us how and why as MDC you thought "devolution is the new revolution".

Mr Moyo: At some stage I wanted to frame the campaign as "Devolution the new Chimurenga" because I did believe in it, in particular as it relates to empowerment of local communities. I did believe that it was the new revolution in as far as it was going to help transform livelihoods of communities by making them benefit from their resources.

For me it was going to cement national cohesion, especially given that the Matabeleland provinces feel they are marginalised and that is on record and that is why in Bulawayo they voted for all sorts of funny people. But one thing that Zanu-PF did was to quietly pull the rag off our feet by beginning to actually implement devolution. While we were campaigning on the promise of bringing devolution to empower local communities Zanu-PF was way ahead implementing the community share schemes and making people taste the benefits of their local resources.

The net effect was that we were then pushed to the political aspects of devolution which unfortunately our adversaries countered as divisive. On the other hand Zanu-PF was able to show tangible benefits that they have brought to the communities. As a result, the one who had delivered was able to carry the devolution battle. While we lost, I am at least glad that we pushed Zanu-PF to work on empowerment of local communities.

It doesn't matter that they did not use the term devolution. In reality, devolution is the destination and there are many trains to the devolution destination. While I have indeed, as my brother Nhlanhla Dube indicated, disembarked from the green train, I am still on the way to the devolution destination using empowerment of the local communities and the citizenry to have control and full utilisation and benefits of their resources.

MH: After resigning you said: "Unfortunately our kind of politics seems not to be attractive for the moment because we are too advanced into the future for the general electorate." This gives the impression that you maintain that devolution is the way to go in Zimbabwe even though it was resoundingly rejected on July 31. Can you explain yourself a bit.

Mr Moyo: I believe we have an electorate which is more concerned with personalities than anything. Issues of policy and content seem not to matter much in determination of the voters' choices in this country. In reality, as a party we invested so much in policy debates at a time when the politics of the country was more about dealing with individual grudges. What made it worse was that areas which we considered our stronghold were obsessed about change for the sake of change politics and content did not matter.

As a result, they wrongly assumed Tsvangirai had the people to remove Mugabe, not knowing that he was a dead brand which had committed political suicide by political immaturity and infidelity which gave him the legendary open zip shut mouth tag. As a result, my conclusion was that we were too advanced for the electorate because we thought we could win the election on the basis of policy when it was more about who insults who the most.

MH: You recently said "I want to understand much better what the people of my region want because I'm sure there is something amiss." What do you think the people from your region (Matabeleland) want, what are their grievances and how can these grievances be solved?

Mr Moyo: The real grievances of Matabeleland revolve around a desire to be given unhindered participation in national projects. The people of Matabeleland have a grievance that they have been excluded from the nation state called Zimbabwe and are thus aggrieved about it. This was made worse by the economic problems which hit the entire country but could be felt more by them because they were the industrial capital and the factory closures were construed as part of the marginalisation process.

There are also issues of economic empowerment and access to capital which many people in the region feel they are denied because of where they are located. If the Government takes its time to connect with the people and deal with them in the context of nation-state Zimbabwe, then there would be a thawing of relations.

So, Government without forgetting other parts of the country should be the key driver of development in the region. And especially deal with the issues of water shortage.

MH: The two MDC formations suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Zanu-PF. What would you attribute the defeat to and do you see the two opposition parties posing a serious challenge to Zanu-PF in future?

Mr Moyo: Zanu-PF was more resourced and institutionally stronger and was able to sustain a more visible campaign. It also had the advantage of tangible benefits to the people for example  land and community share schemes and indigenisation projects. Over and above that, the main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, had smeared himself, so in Mugabe people thought of "sticking with the devil we know". But over and above, Zimbabwe is being defined into two distinct voting groups influenced by migration patterns.

The country is having urban-rural migration as people leave the barren and expensive town life to get a farm, a mine or anything that connects with natural resources and, because Zanu-PF champions the allocation of such, it will continue increasing its support there. In major towns the reconstruction of the middle class as the economy recovers will increase the number of people who vote with brains and that will affect the MDC influence.

Ultimately the MDCs will be pushed to a small little corner before they fracture and ultimately follow the dinosaurs and will only exist in archival records as a once-upon-a-time case.

I think Zanu-PF is on the resurgence and it will be difficult for the MDC formations to dislodge it now or in the near future, especially if it has a smooth transition. The trend in Southern Africa is that a liberation movement which survives an onslaught after a conflict, reconstructs itself and connects with the masses like we have seen with Frelimo in Mozambique and MPLA in Angola. Zanu-PF is likely to deliver on its promises and entrench itself with the people.

The other reality is that the biggest threat to Zanu-PF rule was the economy which was fuelled initially by mismagement and corruption and ignited by the economic sanctions. What the opposition has done is to assist Zanu- PF go back on its track and reconnect with the real values of the liberation struggle.

This means there would be very little appetite and excitement by the masses to oppose for the sack of it. People will seek delivery and will be more willing to work with Zanu-PF in that regard.

Real nationalists and revolutionaries should begin to celebrate that they have forced, as opposition parties, the liberation party to find itself and start doing right things and then work with it to ensure that it does not lose track again. Over and above that, one thing that will make the comeback difficult is that the MDCs are institutionally weak and this will be made worse by lack of appetite by donors to continue pouring funds and the infighting which has started in both parties and is likely to continue until it destroys them.

MH: There are reports that you said you might join the Zanu-PF Government "if the opportunity arises." Is this true?

Mr Moyo: Of course, why would you reject an offer to contribute positively to national development? We were contesting elections to be in governmnmet and if Government says "hey, come here, you are the technocrat worth working with, here is a job to contribute your skills in transforming the livelihoods of Zimbabweans" I will not reject it.

I will accept and will serve with remarkable distinction and commitment. But for now that offer has not come and I don't even know whether it will ever come.

MH: Some people are saying you have a close working relationship with the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Professor Jonathan Moyo, who persuaded you to resign from the MDC with promises of a job in Government. How far true are these allegations?

Mr Moyo: I have also read that and deny vehemently that Professor Moyo enticed me to leave the MDC with a promise of a job in Government. I however, accept that he has had a lot of influence on my political development. We share the nationalist and pan-African agenda and he has often likened me to a political orphan who needs a better political home as he felt I was in captivity in the MDC.

I have strongly considered what he has been saying over the years about my political activism and, in making the personal decision to move on, I have also taken into consideration some of his persuasive political arguments.

MH: Are there any chances that you might join Zanu-PF, considering the election defeat which you said "hit me so hard and left me with no hope?" Do you think Zanu-PF can restore this hope for you as an individual and hope for the country going forward?

Mr Moyo: Of late I have been closely reading some Zanu-PF documents and seem to resonate with most of the contents. I will continue reading more of them and interacting with most of its membership with a view of understanding it much better so that should a need arise for me to find a political home, I make a decision and choice based on substantial knowledge and facts.

So far when I go through some of their literature I find it very enticing and I have wondered why I was ignoring it all this time. I think most Zimbabweans view Zanu-PF as more capable of securing their future than any of the other parties. What I find in the Zanu-PF documents is the content that resonates with the ideas and spirit of Africa's founding fathers Nyerere, Nkrumah and others and it makes them very pan-African and therefore very appealing to the inner heart.

I have been having an internal debate to say maybe I have been unjust to myself and have suppressed my feelings of belonging to where I really fit by continuously wanting some people at the expense of reality.

MH: How much influence do you think western countries led by Britain and the US have in opposition politics in Zimbabwe and how much do you think this influence weakens or strengthens these parties?

Mr Moyo: The Western countries have been the key funders of the MDC T, they denied the MDC led by Prof Ncube of resources because they were bitter that the party refused to go to bed with Morgan. Because of the adage ‘who pays the piper calls the tune' these countries have had significant influence on the MDC-T operations.

And Zanu-PF has managed to drill into the people's minds the puppetry tag which has made the citizens drift en masse from the MDC-T. Their situation was made worse by their failure to take a solid lobby position against sanctions and also their undermining of regional and African institutions as credible institutions of conflict resolution.

MH: As a member of academia, what do you think are the main challenges facing Zimbabwe today and how can the country overcome these challenges?

Mr Moyo: The biggest challenge is the building of a coherent nation, free from polarisation in which all Zimbabweans view themselves as Zimbabweans first and are prepared to fight with all their power to defend the country, protect its sovereignty and contribute positively to its development. This means moving away from the perpetual election mode and accepting that whatever the magnitude of the controversy of the elections, it's time to allow those who have been given the mandate to govern to deliver sound services to the people.

People are tired of being in the trenches forever and their vote and emphatic endorsement of Zanu-PF in the elections means that we need to give it a chance and work to complement it in the interest of national good.

And for Zanu-PF, it's time to convert the manifesto to tangible policies and become more embracing to allow citizens to enjoy their liberties and freedom and, over and above, provide a sound economy. At the end of it for me, politics is my second passion after academia and I am going back to my passion but I also see lots of opportunities in private enterprises and I am tempted to work on my economic empowerment.

- sundaymail

Tags: MDC-T, MDC, Moyo,
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