By Tafara Shumba
The massive defection of members of the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to ZimPF has been very topical in political discourse recently with some analysts seeing the tergiversation as an omen for the crumbling of the hyped coalition project.
The Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) is currently on cloud nine after reaping what seemingly looks like a bumper harvest.
PDP has suffered a colossal blow after its vice president Samuel Sipepa Nkomo defected to ZimPF with 50 members in his trail. Notable among the deserters are the deputy national chairperson, Watchy Sibanda, Tongai Matutu and Paul Madzore among others.
Nkomo led the PDP in the negotiations for the grand coalition. Alas, the former PDP vice president lost compass and ended up being assimilated. The Scripture and the traditional folklores will never come short of explanations for everything that happens on planet earth.
Once upon a time, the birds of the air decided on one chilly morning, to send the hen to get some fire from a neighboring village. The people gave the hen a warm welcome and treatment which forced the later to abandon going back to the bush. All it did was to get on top of the roof and announced to its kin that it was no longer coming back. What a betrayal!
It seems that behavior runs in the blood of these endothermic vertebrates, as we see again in the Scripture, a raven being sent out by Noah to see if the floods had receded from the surface of the ground. The raven did not come back with the report but instead flew here and there until the water subsided so that it could feast on the corpses.
That’s exactly analogous to what Nkomo did. He enjoyed the warm reception in the ZimPF during the negotiations and could not help to announce to PDP that he was no longer coming back. What a betrayal! He enjoyed corpses in the ZimPF and forgot his mission. But what are these corpses that took the PDP man off the rail?
ZimPF, as a new kid on the political block, received some financial aid from the West which sees ZimPF as a better and a willing pawn to be used in its regime change project. Thus, money was generously poured into that party and it is the same money that Mr Nkomo set his eyes on and failed to resist.
Nkomo is a very calculative person. He cannot leave the position of vice president in PDP for naught. He knows there is a missing Ndebele element in the ZimPF echelons, a substantial someone to represent the region in the ZimPF presidium.
Fascinatingly, a Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Pelandaba-Mpopoma, Joseph Chuma last month dismissed allegations of marginalisation of Matabeleland region by Zanu PF government arguing that Ndebele people were marginalising themselves by not being aggressive to take many opportunities on offer. He could be right, for once. It seems the region is now at ease with playing second fiddle to political organisations. Nkomo has rushed to join ZimPF so that when a grand coalition finally sees the light of the day, he will have warmed up the VP seat. The likes of Thokozani Khupe will not have any chance.
But the latest ZimPF acquisition is not anything to brag about. No sane person can call himself a great fisher when the only fish he catches are from an aquarium in his house. Sipepa Nkomo and the 50 PDP members who crossed the floor are not any new addition to the ZimPF. These are the people who have been voting against Zanu PF, thus their defection is not going to be a game changer as nothing has been subtracted from Zanu PF.
Mujuru has been holding rallies across the country which has been harvesting a fair attendance by her standard. That attendance must not deceive her into thinking that her party is the biggest and most popular opposition party in the country. The people who attend Mujuru’s party meetings are the same people who attend Morgan Tsvangirai’s rallies. These are just political turncoats just as there are religious prostitutes.
What is happening in Norton constituency where all the opposition parties are rallying behind Temba Mliswa is quite telling. Temba can never claim to command that following.
In a certain un-churched village in Chipinge, the villagers always join en bloc a new church that comes into their village. Thus, any particular church cannot confidently claim ownership of the flip flopping congregants. It is just the church of the moment. Likewise, ZimPF is just a political party of the moment whose marriage with the cartwheel supporters is short lived.
Interestingly, PDP is issuing a hotchpotch of reactionary statements vis-à-vis the defections. Edwin Ndlovu, the PDP spokesperson for Bulawayo province downplayed the defections saying his party had no problem with it because they were “working with People First to form a grand coalition come 2018.” On the other hand, the national executive has called off negotiations with ZimPF for a grand coalition accusing the later of being a backstabber which negotiates in bad faith.
But democratic principles that PDP generously prescribes to others dictate that a person must have freedom to choose a party of his or her own choice. You cannot abandon negotiations between organisations because individuals have taken their independent decisions to join parties of their choices.
Now that Madzore and Matutu have also ditched Biti to rejoin MDC-T, there is no longer PDP to talk about. Probably Biti and Jacob Mafume are the last two men standing. Since some of their colleagues have joined ZimPF while others have rejoined MDC-T, the prudent thing for Mafume and Biti is to join Zanu PF.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.