MDC Top Six Dilemma: Competence versus Loyalty

MDC Leader Nelson Chamisa (centre) seated with Morgen Komichi (left) and Tendai Biti (right).
MDC Leader Nelson Chamisa (centre) seated with Morgen Komichi (left) and Tendai Biti (right).

Despite a few side shows in the Zimbabwean political scene like the appointment of ever-vibrant ‘Chibabest’ Fortune Chasi to lead the Energy Ministry, it is of no doubt that the fast approaching MDC congress has dominated very talk about Zimbabwean politics.

By Prestige Dube

The main opposition has entered into the most sensitive phase of its life span, which if not carefully managed, will be the genesis of a massive attrition of the gains the party had amassed from the July 2018 election, plunging it into further crisis.

It marks the Genesis of the Fall of a Giant. Some may take this as just another doomsday prophecy, but it is the certainty awaiting the party. Conversely, on the positive, the Congress offers a grand opportunity for the party to institutionally rejuvenate itself by boosting the electorate’s confidence. The Congress should result in an institution so strong that its roots extent beyond individuals. Without doubt, the party is riding on Chamisa’s back, same way it was show jumping on Tsvangirai shoulders before his death.

Strong institutions do not build themselves. Strong institutions are a product of strong leadership, where diversity, tolerance and most importantly competence are the backbone of strategy. The race for a stack in the top 6 of the party remains the centre of everyone’s attention, including the international community. Consequently, the future of MDC depends on who emerge the winners on the 26th of May 2019.

With the Presidency already Chamisa’s take away, him being the best man the party could ever get, the race for the Vice Presidency becomes the centre of all attention. The composition of the three lieutenants will determine the future of the party and how Chamisa will fare as a leader. Leaders are product of those who surround them.

While it seems, to many, like the main battle is between Tendai Biti and Morgan Komichi, it is a battle between competence and loyalty, proficiency versus allegiance.

Loyalty has been Komichi’s campaigning trump card.

But one would ask, is loyalty really what the MDC is yearning for at this juncture?

Is it because of lack of loyalty that the party has been in opposition for 20 years? Loyalty and patronage are inseparable twins. But then one would also ask, is Komichi a case of personnel or party loyalty?  There is no price for guessing that with congress coming, we are dealing with political careers of individuals. Loyalty usually transcend political ideology and the principles of the party and allegiance override the oath of office. It is indeed ridiculous for leaders to ride on loyalty.

The MDC Congress should know the value of skill and competence over loyalty. When Talleyrand, in 1807, decided to turn against Napoleon, albeit without success he knew the importance of hiring a former enemy in Fouche in the conspiracy plot. As Robert Greene in The Concise 48 Laws of Power perfectly puts it; ‘it was a relationship created out of mutual self-interest and would not be contaminated with personal feelings’.

The danger in electing people who pride themselves as top loyalists is that they usually build dangerous fortresses around the leader, making him a paranoid hard to reach mini-god without perspective.

Loyalty is not a preserve for one man.

All Zimbabweans who stood by Chamisa in the July 2018 elections did so because of loyalty to the democratic struggle and it would be ludicrous for anyone to claim to be super loyal than all the 2 million plus voters.

For prosperity and institutional growth, the MDC should have Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Mai Kore as Chamisa’s top lieutenants.

Chamisa himself should not be afraid to be surrounded with the intelligent and competent or even those who are way smarter than him. His circle should be of men and women of superior intellectual and emotional intelligence who share mutual self-drive to succeed. Sheep needs a shepherd not more sheep.

At the end, the Congress should ‘define a new course for Zimbabwe’, a Zimbabwe where competence triumph over loyalty. A Zimbabwe where it matters not who a leader supports but what he offers as an individual!

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