Yellow is Zimbabwe’s new red

It’s possible that hope has been rekindled.
On January 24, MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa abandoned the MDC name and announced the formation of a new party – and a new colour. Image: AdobeStock

After 22 years of writing about events and life in Zimbabwe it would be remiss of me not to record recent events because two weeks ago, after 17 years of bickering, accusing and finger-pointing, it’s possible that hope has been rekindled in our country with the appearance of yellow.

Yellow is the new red in Zimbabwe. Red was always the colour of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which was born in 1999 but fractured in 2005 into two parties, MDC T (Morgan Tsvangirai) and MDC N (Welshman Ncube).

At each election from 2005 to 2018, and in between times too, the MDC in-fighting became more and more shameful and bizarre with continual disputes over leadership, assets, buildings and funds.

Voters would get to polling stations and find two or three MDCs on the ballot papers. Confusion reigned, and with it came disappointment and deep sadness as the sacrifices made by so many, and the price paid by so many, seemed all for nothing.

Even the 2018 coalition of leaders calling itself the MDC Alliance, which included the splintered arms of the MDC, could not stop the squabbling mess.

Frankly it was embarrassing to see that the MDC had turned into a personality contest, ignoring the people who had voted for it.

The MDC in all its various forms was dogged by infiltration and in-fighting, and diluted by people who declared themselves the leaders of the party and proceeded to purge 133 elected parliamentary and local authority officials from office by having them recalled. Those recalls have left constituencies without MPs and local authorities without councillors for over a year.

By-elections have not been held as the government suspended all elections under the guise of Covid and so we have floundered deeper and deeper into hopelessness, poverty and despair.

On January 24 Nelson Chamisa, president of the MDC Alliance, abandoned the MDC name and announced the formation of a new party, the CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change).

Bizarre events immediately followed.

The government allocated funding under the Political Parties (Finance) Act, giving Zanu-PF US$350 million (it got 51.44% of the votes in the 2018 election) and the MDC T US$149 million (it only got 0.96% of the votes in the 2018 election).

Nothing at all was allocated to the MDC Alliance, which had won 45.07% of the votes in the 2018 election, as the party leadership dispute had left them out in the cold.

What a mess. Confused? So are we.

Clean break

So in January 2022 the new CCC party starts out with nothing and they declared their new party colour to be yellow, giving them the clean break they needed from their red colour of the past.

Immediately there was an argument about yellow.

Speaking at a rally in Harare, Zanu-PF officials said Chamisa and the CCC should be barred from using the colour yellow saying it was Zanu-PF’s colour and it signified mineral wealth. (A telling claim in view of the vast fortunes in mineral wealth continually being smuggled out of the country.) The Human Rights NGO Forum said “under the laws of common sense, the alleged expression of interest to bar the use of colour has no basis”.

The CCC has a mountain to climb, the first step being to immediately insist that electoral reforms are made.

Too many times we have heard the MDC in all its guises saying it will not do this, or that, or the other without electoral reforms and yet time and time again they get swept up in the hype of huge rallies and do nothing about crucial electoral reforms. Every election they say they will protect our votes but they do not, and in the process they betray the ordinary people who sacrifice so much to vote for them.

Trust needs to be restored with actions, not words, or why would people even bother going to vote?

As I write this letter under a bright yellow sun a beautiful green chameleon is watching me watching him; it has one eye looking back at me and the other looking forwards for any passing fly. The CCC need eyes in the back of its head as we step onto the ugly 2023 election treadmill and I end with this quote in the hope that the CCC will learn from its mistakes:

“Indeed, you won the elections, but I won the count.” – Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Samoza, 1896-1957

Copyright © Cathy Buckle

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COMMENTS   1

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“Frankly it was embarrassing to see that the MDC had turned into a personality contest, ignoring the people who had voted for it.”

I seem to find a similar scenario being played out down South here. Will we have to wait another 17 years for some changes?

I hope not.

End of comments.

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