Biti’s Renewal Project Dead in the Water

By John Chimunhu|
Now Daily Analysis|

Whatever happens to the remainder of the MDC-T after its imprecise decimation by the now-sacked secretary-general, Tendai Biti, is a matter for conjecture.
What is clear, however, is that Biti’s so-called ‘renewal’ group will not be able to win Zimbabwe in 2018, or at any other time.
Though they claim to be a team, they are more a disjointed outfit of gold-diggers currently driven by the prospect of inheriting what they see as Morgan Tsvangirai’s rather lucrative mantle.
For starters, the group lacks a clear direction. Without a key message, it will not attract the funding that is required to keep its operations going and keep the momentum until the next big event, which is an election.
The so-called renewal team has no soldiers. It has mercenaries; hired guns who were all too willing to split from Tsvangirai when money was offered, and who will not think twice about leaving Biti if offered more money or power by anyone else.
Its leaders have not publicly spelt out any coherent plan, except to express a strong desire to get rid of Tsvangirai and all those who seem loyal to him. Noone has laid out a clear agenda of how Mugabe and Zanu PF will be dealt with, which is more crucial to the Zimbabwean voter, particularly the powerful, disgruntled group trapped in the diaspora.
Biti and the Western sponsors of this project lacked the foresight, patience and maturity to see things through. They proved to be rash, vindictive and frivolous. It is inconceivable that Biti and former deputy treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma could seriously hope to remove a character like Tsvangirai by sending him the laughable so-called ‘love letters’ without mobilising critical grassroots support for the cause.
Already, there are disagreements in the rebel camp, as expected, over money. Biti has cleverly taken both the party presidency and the powerful finance portfolio, relegating Mangoma to the so-called informal sector and livelihoods committee in the ‘renewal’ group’s ‘national executive’ announced last Friday. This is a strategic but unpopular move, meant to prevent the sort of chaos that rocked MDC-T when Biti and Mangoma betrayed their colleagues and party funds allegedly vanished.
The truth is, the renewal team has made a lot of powerful friends in the media, especicially at the influential Voice of America’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe programme. Even after Biti was expelled, the media continues to refer to Tsvangirai as ‘faction leader’, though Biti has stated ambiguosly that he is forming a new party.
Forming a new party is not easy. The conditions which existed in 1999 when MDC was formed simply do not exist today. The reality is, in a dictatorship such as Zimbabwe, it takes several decades to build the sort of genuine momentum that would create a solid party such as the original MDC. Biti and his camp are probably aware of this. What they do not seem to notice is the damage they are causing to the movement for democracy and the backlash that could trigger in the future. The consequences, according to the much-quoted phrase, could be too ghastly to contemplate.
(c) 2014 Now Daily. All Rights Reserved.


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