PYA’s Shafee Verachia (@ShafMysta)was elected uncontested as the new SRC president and four other PYA members were voted into executive team portfolios.
Project W did not make it onto the executive team despite winning seven of 15 directly elected seats on the SRC.
The PYA won eight seats but has an additional four seats on the SRC which were elected indirectly.
Consulting SRC portfolio
Project W’s Jamie Mighti (@thenextbarack)said they came to the PYA “with open arms but we were shut down in a systemic, ruthless and conniving manner. Bayas’jwayela [they are disrespecting us]”.
Project W ‘s Jabulile Mabuza (@ceejaymabuza) said it was “clear that they don’t want to work with us”. She said they had been sidelined and called it an “insult to democracy”.
“You are saying people can do whatever they want as long as you have one more vote,” Mabuza said.
Comrades discuss politics via Whatsapp
Wits Vuvuzela was given a copy of a Whatsapp group conversation between some Project W members and the PYA deployment committee made up of current and former SRC members. [pullquote align=”right”]“We would desire Mighti Jamie for the position of VP [vice president] and Jabulile Mabuza for deputy secretary-general,”[/pullquote]
In the conversation, Mighti was asked which portfolios Project W members wanted and who they wanted in those positions. Mighti said Project W wanted himself and Mabuza in executive positions.
“We would desire Mighti Jamie for the position of VP [vice president] and Jabulile Mabuza for deputy secretary-general,” he said.
Mighti said Project W wanted those positions because it would give them representation in meetings only available to members of the executive team.
“We would also be able to put our views to these decision-making bodies [senate, council and convocation].”
SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa (@Sibulele_) asked Mighti: “May I ask: does it matter if [Project] W is not in exec? Will it affect their performance in SRC?”
Mighti responded: “I definitely think it will send the message that our say is not valuable to the decision-making process, we would like a voice at the very least in the university structures.”
Mighti warned that excluding Project W would “create an atmosphere of adversity, in that it is the PYA executive versus the Project W candidates, this may lead to more fractious relations over time.”
Divvying up SRC portfolios
Two new SRC portfolios were created and some were merged. Mighti said they were not consulted on this.
“They came to the meeting, merged all the positions that you think are powerful, not because they are trying to be benevolent but because they are trying to monopolise power,” Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela.
[pullquote]“They came to the meeting, merged all the positions that you think are powerful, not because they are trying to be benevolent but because they are trying to monopolise power”[/pullquote] He accused the PYA of merging positions because they ran out of candidates for the portfolios believed to be influential.
PYA deployment committee member Tebogo Thothela denied Project W’s allegations and said the new portfolios were created regularly.
Thothela said they had spoken to Project W members to ask them which portfolios they would want.
Verachia also defended the portfolio assignments: “A lot of thought went into the portfolios,” he said.
Verachia said Project W’s disappointment was because they may have been “ambitious of the portfolios they wanted”.
Working dynamics between Project W and PYA
Mabuza and Mighti were assigned to the two new portfolios, of campus liaison officer and day student liaison officer respectively. Both said they would do their best to serve students in those portfolios.
Verachia said unifying the team would not happen “over night” but he was ready for the job ahead: “It’s a huge responsibility and I am up for the challenge.”
Project W’s Jabulile Mabuza and Jarred Hart respond to the announcement of the 2013 SRC portfolio. Photo: Ray Mahlaka
By Ray Mahlaka and Emelia Motsai
Progressive Youth Alliance’s (PYA) Shafee Verachia was elected the new SRC president at the constitutional meeting that was held yesterday.
The meeting was held to determine which portfolios the newly elected SRC members will take up.
Outgoing SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said Verachia’s position was uncontested. The new SRC is made up of eight PYA members and seven Project W members who were voted for by Witsies last month.
Paul Ndeweni got the deputy president portfolio, Michlene Monya is the secretary general, Shoki Masha, deputy secretary general and the treasurer is Sandile Ngwenya.
[pullquote]”It’s clear they do not want to work with us”[/pullquote]
The new SRC will no longer have two deputy presidents but will have a deputy secretary general. Some portfolios like clubs, societies and student governance were merged.
Academics and policy were also merged and so was projects, media and campaigns.
Two new portfolios were created, day student liaison officer and campus liaison officer. Having only PYA members in the executive team and merging of some portfolios left Project W SRC elects very upset.
Project W’s Jabulile Mabuza, who got a newly created portfolio said she was disheartened by what had happened and PYA had merged positions to monopolise power.
“It’s clear they do not want to work with us,” said Mabuza with tears in her eyes.
Outgoing vice president external Joy Phiri said it was normal for the SRC to create new positions to meet the needs of students.
Jamie Mighti of Project W said he was “disgusted and shocked”. He said they were not consulted on the decision to create the new portfolios or who was going to take what portfolio. He described the portfolio’s his organisation received as “fluff positions”.
He added: “They [PYA] don’t want to negotiate. They have created a winner takes all situation.”
PYA member Tebogo Thothela, (SRC 2011/12), said they had been in talks with Mighti about the issue of portfolios and Mighti’s demands were two portfolios in the executive team for Project W. He said they (Project W) said nothing about the other portfolios.
2013/14 SRC portfolios
President- Shafee Verachia – PYA
Deputy President Paul Ndiweni – PYA
Secretary general- Michlene Mongae – PYA
Deputy Secretary general- Shoki Masha – PYA
Treasurer- Sandile Ngwenya
Projects, media and campaigns- Nelson Maunatlala – PYA
Clubs, societies and student governance – Sarah Mokwebo – PYA
Academics and policies- Angeliki Vidalis – PYA
Community and service development- Avigal Cutler – Project W
Transformation officer- Jarred Hart- Project W
Legal officer- Gerry Comninos – Project W
Strategic planning- Ethan Genende – Project W
International officer- Kay Mlaba – Project W
Campus liaison officer- Jabulile Mabuza – Project W
Day student liaison officer- Jamie Mighti- Project W
TEMPERS flared as activists and mine workers were thrown out of a lecture by African National Congress ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Wits Great Hall last night.
The activists and mine workers from the Marikana support campaign were disappointed that Ramaphosa did not address the Marikana massacre of 34 miners in his lecture. Last year, police shot and killed the mine workers in the North West province in an ongoing labour dispute.
The Marikana support campaign activists expressed their outrage at Ramaphosa for not talking about the government’s refusal to pay for legal representation of the mine workers at the official commission of inquiry.
Alfred Moyo, one of the activists, accused Ramaphosa of lying to people in his lecture.
“There is no there is no community participation in the NDP. He does not address anything about Marikana and miners’ challenges. They [government] have blood on their hands. We have South Africans living in informal settlements, we have no services.This talk is busy is total rubbish. He is here to lie to people,” Moyo told Wits Vuvuzela.
Claire Ceruti, activist with the Democratic Left Front was thrown out of the lecture for telling Ramaphosa that he has blood on his hands. Ceruti had previously protested against Trevor Manuel at the Ruth First Memorial Lecture in the same venue.
Ceruti said Ramaphosa tried to make himself look good by averting questions about Marikana, as she was expecting him to take responsibility.
“It’s disgusting that he sits there as someone who makes profits. These are the people who gave the go ahead for the trigger at the Marikana massacre. He defended the police for their actions, by sending emails to the police commissioner,” Ceruti said.
Marikana commission of inquiry
Ramaphosa, speaking about the commission of inquiry said the story of Marikana still needs to be told and addressed fully.
“Many people feel the pain for Marikana. It’s deeply regretted,” he told the audience which were not convinced.
Ramaphosa was boo’ed throughout his speech by the activists. They also carried posters which read: “Don’t let the politicians get away with murder, Marikana support campaign.”
In response to the posters Ramaphosa said people with papers cannot distract those without papers. We must respect each other’s right to speak.”
Zooming in on the NDP
On the NDP Ramaphosa noted that South Africa’s economy does not serve the interest of people as it creates few jobs, skills levels are poor in the country and that inequality plagues society.
“The NDP serves as a vision to overcome key challenges; inequality which we have inherited, poverty and unemployment which also has roots in our past. The NDP is a plan that can deliver faster economic growth and inclusive growth. Ills are plentiful, there are many problems that beset the nation. The NDP provides pragmatic plan to transform the economy”.
The contentious plan has been rejected by trade unions, which claim the policy will not solve the country’s socio-economic issues.
[pullquote align=”right”]”Ramaphosa just came here to canvass. He just wants votes.”[/pullquote]
Ramaphosa said he welcomed debate around the NDP.
He added: “We are a nation of people who love to talk, we are noisy and robust, that is good. We would love to get full agreement, especially in our country. Those views need to be given a platform to be articulated. “There has been resistance to the NDP, which needs to be debated. Those who are criticising the plan need to engage with the plan. We all want what is best for our people and the country.”
Some members of the audience scoffed at his assertion that socio-economic change has occurred.
Ramaphosa’s assertion that wages have increased since 1994 and that workers have won the right to strike did not bode well with mine workers in attendance.
A Lonmin Platinum miner who shot by police during wage disputes said Ramaphosa’s lecture was a campaign strategy for next year’s national elections. He refused to be named.
“Ramaphosa just came here to canvass. He just wants votes. There is no promises and change for poor people. He just bought a buffalo [which he placed a R20-million bid on and lost], he should have given the money to suffering people,” the mine worker said.
Ramaphosa said the NDP policy is not perfect. He added: “We will continue to engage. Where there are gaps, well work with society to fill the gaps. We need to implement the NDP.”
The celebrity duo was invited by the PYA to encourage Wits students to participate in this year’s elections. “We encourage Wits students to vote. Once they vote, they will make the wise choice,” Sisulu said.
Threats of disqualification
Chief electoral officer Jabu Mashinini stopped the duo and threatened that if they continued to campaign, the PYA would be disqualified from the elections.
“The rule says only students can campaign. This is Wits University, don’t campaign for them. They cannot approach students. I don’t want this debate,” Mashinini shouted at the two visitors. Mashinini also said Thusi and Sisulu’s presence is seen as campaigning for the PYA, which would give the organisation an advantage in the elections.
Mashinini added: “You can’t bring people to campaign, as they will get an advantage. Only Wits students can campaign, it’s part of an election rule. I will disqualify them and this is a last warning.”
[pullquote]“The rule says only students can campaign. This is Wits University, don’t campaign for them. They cannot approach students. I don’t want this debate”[/pullquote]
Roping in Thusi and Sisulu did not bode well for the opposition organisations, who accused the PYA of using under-handed tactics by bringing influential people to campus.
Opposition organisations react
A group of PYA candidates argued that anyone in a democratic country can bring anyone to campaign, as “all of the organisations have been doing dirty things”.
They also accused Project W of buying votes by allegedly awarding students couches worth “R25 000” in a bid to win the elections. They also raised concerns over Project W’s intentions to participate in the elections. Candidate for Project W, Gautam Rao, slammed the PYA’s allegations of buying votes and said “the couches were donated by corporates”.
Rao added: “We were not doing this [buying couches] for votes. We don’t need anarchy at Wits. Anarchy will not help this university. We were told to abide by [election] rules when we joined the campaign. We need to bring integrity back to Wits.”
Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (Daso) candidate, Rebone Segopolo, also weighed in by criticising the PYA’s election move. “How do you bring Pearl Thusi? They should have brought a Wits alumnus, someone more relevant,” Segopolo said.
Last day of the elections
Today marks the last day of this year’s SRC elections. According to presiding election officer, Nosi Sosibo, the votes will be counted overnight. She also said an indication cannot be given as to which organisation is leading in the election race. “Last year was busier than this year. Last year was worse,” Sosibo gave an indication on voter turnout. The election results will be announced tomorrow.
Nkosana Makate the man claiming he invented the Please Call Me concept is suing Vodacom for the innovation. The case is still pending at the South Gauteng High Court. Photo: Leigh-ann Carey
DESPITE claiming that Vodacom stole his Please Call Me idea, Witsie, Nkosana Makate has no grudges against the telecommunications giant and still subscribes to its services.
Makate has been embroiled in an intellectual property dispute for the service he claims he invented and was not compensated for.
The dispute has been playing out for three weeks at the South Gauteng High Court, where both parties presented their arguments. A court date still has to be set by the judge for closing arguments.
Makate, a sociology and psychology student said he had no grudge against his superior at the time, former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig . Knott-Craig was at the helm of the company between 1993 and 2008. He is now the CEO of Cell C.
“I’ve always respected the man. I still do. It’s just that we had quite an awkward moment, that he probably loved the invention so much that he believed it came from him.”
Where it all started
It all started with a love affair in 2000, according to Makate, when his then girlfriend now wife who was a student at the University of Fort Hare had no money for airtime.
Lack of airtime for a long distance relationship and a couple of communication barriers, sparked an idea for a free telecommunications service which allows mobile users to send free messages for the recipient to call back.
“Please Call Me solved a relationship love problem, which culminated into technology.”
Makate, a Vodacom accountant at the time pitched the idea to his boss and executive for product development at the time, Philip Geissler. He claims that his idea was captured in a proposal and concept documents and “that’s how it [Please Call Me idea] got to Vodacom.”
According to Business DayKnott-Craig has refuted in court that he had any knowledge of Makate’s agreement with Geissler and that he was not contractually bound to compensate Makate.
[pullquote]I knew that for me I had nothing to lose further except to try to get justice and fear will always be there when you take on big giants[/pullquote]Knott-Craig also has his own version on how Please Call Me came about.
According to media reports, Knott-Craig in his memoir details how he allegedly invented the idea. While observing from a balcony how two security guards were trying to communicate with each other through missed calls, that’s was the gap Knott-Craig saw for the inception of the service.
“Between him and I, we know who came up with the idea. In a court decision it will come and be clear exactly who is the inventor.”
Makate said his quest for “justice” through the legal route was the last option, as he tried to settle the matter out of court.
All what Makate wants is for Vodacom to recognise that he “has been wronged.”
And only in 2008, after failed attempts to get Vodacom to discuss the Please Call Me concept, he approached the courts.
Makate alleges that after summoning Vodacom to court, he tried to engage with Vodacom about the matter, but to no avail. On taking on a large telecoms conglomerate, Makate said he got to a space where fear didn’t matter.
“I knew that for me I had nothing to lose further except to try to get justice and fear will always be there when you take on big giants.”
He also said looking back in time, he surprises himself by the strength he had to see through the 13 year Please Call Me battle with Vodacom.
His bid is to have the telecommunications company compensate him atleast 15% of the revenues made from the successful service and the company to keep the lions share.
Although he had a turbulent relationship with the company which gave him grief for 13 years, still subscribes to Vodacom.
He suspects that Vodacom is tapping his conversations.
He added: “When you pursue the truth, there is nothing to hide. I know they are tapping me, they know what I’m talking about. This interview is probably known, for me it doesn’t matter.”
Litigation against Vodacom according to Makate doesn’t come cheap. He initially had to fund the case from his own pocket. When Makate’s story continued to be publicised by the media, he then garnered financial support from donors in 2011. “[pullquote align=”right”]In Ubuntu culture, you try to engage people first. Courts are foreign to us. Unfortunately it was something I was forced to do when I got a response to say they are not prepared to meet with me ever. It was a watershed moment[/pullquote].”
“I got funders who came on board who said we can assist. They evaluated the case and saw merit in it and they assisted.”
When asked how the please call me offering had developed since its inception, Makate said it had been successful.
“It has done well. I think it has grown over the years. It’s the kind of market where its audience will be the poor. It will always be those who cannot access whatsapp.”
Lessons and future endeavours
Makate said his struggle with Vodacom has not deterred him from producing innovations. However, he is now cautious about patenting his innovations.
“I protect [innovations] now before divulging…I am probably more skeptical in how I approach things now than I was at 24 years old.”
Life beyond the Vodacom battle for Makate involves giving motivational talks at High Schools on his intellectual property battle. He is also penning his book titled Taming The Beast on his please call me story.
He is quick to clarify that the beast in his book title is not Vodacom, but “corporate in total”. The book will be completed, once a judgment has been served. A movie on please call me is also on the horizon.
SRC vice president-internal Tokelo Nhlapo, promised that they (SRC), would give Wits Vice-chancellor a “political baptism”. Photo: Nolwazi Mjwara
By Emelia Motsai, Thuletho Zwane and Ray Mahlaka
Wits has arranged for another Israeli musician to perform at the university to make up for the concert that was disrupted in March.
After a concert was disrupted on March 12, the university asked the organisers how they could make up for the disruption “for those who had bought tickets but were not able to enjoy the concert”, according to Vice Chancellor Adam Habib.
A group of about 50 students, including at least nine SRC members, disrupted a concert by Israeli-born pianist Yossi Reshef in March. The concert happened during Israel Apartheid Week. Eleven students were later charged by the university for contravening the university’s code of conduct. Habib said the university and the SRC were meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.
Not on Our watch
[pullquote align=”right”]Habib said if he listened to everything the SRC had to say, his role as a vice chancellor would mean nothing[/pullquote]
SRC internal vice president Tokelo Nhlapo said they are “going to debate them. If they fail to debate us, we will use civil non-violent protest to show that the university is being used to cleanse the bloody image of Israel.”
Nhlapo said the concert would not happen on their watch. “We are not going to be silenced by the charges.”
Habib said that, even though the SRC was chosen to represent students, they should realise they did not represent the student body on all issues. “I have in my office a whole range of petitions saying they do not agree with what the SRC did and that I must continue to prosecute.”
Habib said if he listened to everything the SRC had to say, his role as a vice chancellor would mean nothing: “They would just tell me what to do.” University management wanted to “make sure the reputation of the university is not impugned”.
Sitting one the fence
Habib said the music department had been tasked with organising the new concert. They could not secure Reshef so another Israeli musician had been invited.
Habib denied the university had “taken sides” on the Israel-Palestine issue: “You can’t be a free space for ideas and say that one side is allowed and the other is not.”
Nhlapo disagrees. “We think it is hypocritical that the university will fight for the Dalai Lama but refuses to stand up to Israel.” He said they would not allow Habib to go against the values that Wits stood for.
“We are going to give Habib a political baptism.”
The concert will take place on August 28 at the Great Hall. The South African Zionist Federation said it would be open to everyone. The students who were charged are now facing disciplinary hearings, which will resume on September 25.
“If we are going to be expelled for protesting, then I don’t want to be a part of this university,”
WITS university management have welcomed the recent survey featuring academic staff concerns of governance and salaries at the university.
The survey titled Whither Wits? was commissioned by the Academic Staff Association at Wits University (Asawu) and features 400 academic staff who voiced their grievances in their line of work.
“Asawu felt that it was time to get a sense of how academics perceive the institution and how they feel in relation to the university affecting academic life, especially with new management, “ acting vice president Fiona Horne told Wits Vuvuzela.
Asawu last commissioned a survey to gauge academic staff perceptions of the university in 2010.
Since then Horne said there have been a lot of critical issues affecting the university and widespread dissatisfaction amongst academics.
Issues raised in the survey
The number one widespread dissatisfaction among academic staff is salaries.
“Few people are happy with salary levels, which received a satisfaction rating of only 5.1%, while satisfaction rating for individual’s own position on the salary scale was 8.7%,” the report read.
The academics also took a swipe at the poor communication process with management regarding salaries at Wits.
The union representing Wits academic staff proposes that the university should use the bench-marking system, where salaries are compared with those offered at other universities.
Horne added: “If you are a lecturer you must be paid as a lecturer and not a tutor.”
[pullquote]It’s spot on [on] some of the issues of service delivery. We are on to those issues of service delivery. Some of the issues raised in the survey are historical issues. Some are quite regular issues that were raised by the survey[/pullquote]The university is generally not well governed, that is according to academics in the survey.
“This issue received a dissatisfaction rating of 64.6% of the sample with comments focusing on management’s distance from and inability to hear both staff and student concerns,” the report said.
Wits management responds
Deputy vice chancellor of finance and operations Prof Tawana Kupe confirmed receiving the report and told Wits Vuvuzela that by the time the survey was released the university had already started to address the issues raised.
“It’s spot on [on] some of the issues of service delivery. We are onto those issues of service delivery. Some of the issues raised in the survey are historical issues. Some are quite regular issues that were raised by the survey,” said Kupe.
He also said the issues identified in the survey are justified.
Horne said Asawu has the confidence in the new management, led by incoming vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib (@AdHabb), but cautioned that some issues affecting academic staff are not simple to address.
More issues plaguing academics
Another point of contention at Wits according to Horne is medical aid contribution.
She added: “Over 60% of staff are on maximum contribution. The vice chancellor and tutors are paying the exact amount of medical aid. It’s unfair, and it’s a huge chunk of their salary.”
Horne said another big issue academics are faced with is the workload, as they have to cope with teaching large class sizes and the pressure to do research.
“Demands are made on us. People are feeling tired and frustrated,” she said.
Alleged unfilled vacancies
Earlier this year Wits Vuvuzela reported that the academic union was concerned with unfilled vacancies at the university, which management denied that this was the case. The union also alleged that the number of unfilled vacancies has cost the university “R 100-million”.
“Certain departments are definitely under-staffed. That’s the trend in all universities, especially with the incoming vice chancellor’s [plans] to make it [Wits] a research intensive university. It’s all fine but, when academics are not getting the support they need, they’ve got huge workloads, it puts them in stressful conditions, “she said.
Kupe said the university has a policy of having a three month window period to replace staff members who have vacated their positions.
Other conditions of service raised in the survey are the lack of parking spaces on campus, the need for child care facilities and academic leave taken by teaching commitments.
Despite the issues raised by Asawu, Horne said academics are proud to be working at the institution.
AUGUST 16 marks the first anniversary of the fateful killing of Lonmin platinum mine workers in North West province. The event has been dubbed the “Marikana massacre” because police opened fire at over 30 protesting mine workers. A year later questions still need to be answered by the Marikana commission of inquiry regarding the police’s conduct and events leading to the disputes. Wits Vuvuzela took to the streets to ask Witsies whether they remember the event, its significance and how the day should be commemorated.
Witsies use various modes of transport to travel to and from campus everyday. Some take 15 minute walks, while others have to travel for up to two hours. Wits Vuvuzela went out to bus stops, popular taxi pick up points, pedestrian crossings and trains stations to find out how the commute is for students and staff.
A day in the life
Witsie Yusuf Bapeekee at the Braamfontein train station. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Yusuf Bapeekee used to travel by motor bike when he lived in the West Rand near Kagiso. He recently moved to Mayfair and now walks daily to and from campus. [pullquote align=”right”]“I normally leave campus around 3.30, [but] because it’s Ramadan I leave around 1.15, after prayers.”[/pullquote]
“I never see anything out of the ordinary… just small school kids that walk free not scared. I see them and I feel free.”
Bapeekee said it took him “half hour tops” to make the commute. He said he left home at 7.15am. “I try to be early for my lectures”, he said as a smile grew across face.
“I normally leave campus around 3.30, [but] because it’s Ramadan I leave around 1.15, after prayers.”
Bapeekee said he enjoyed the walk. “It’s free to walk, plus it’s exercise.”
Asked about the crime associated with route around Enoch Sontonga Avenue, Bapeekee said:
“If I saw more students I’d feel even better.”
Walk on by
Ntombi Mbatha carefully crosses the street. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
A short brisk walk is all it takes for Ntombi Mbatha, 1st year BHSc, to get to and from campus. She lives at a Southpoint building just two blocks away from campus.
Even though her journey is uncomplicated she nearly got hit by a taxi once. She said that experience has made her think more than twice before crossing the street now.
She is fascinated by the high school students she passes on her way because they remind her of her days as one of them.
Ntombi feels very safe walking in Braamfontein.
“I went downtown once and it was just such a mess, Braam is better,” she said.
Ngake Mukgowane rushing to catch his train home. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Students aren’t the only ones who have to commute to and from Wits. Staff members also have their own transport missions.
Ngake Mukgowane is a Wits staff member who uses the train to commute.
He leaves his home in Dobsonville at 5.30am every morning and has to travel for about an hour and a half to reach Braamfontein station.
Mukgowane has been working at Wits for 18 years and has been a train commuter for most of those years.
He was in a rush to catch his 4pm train when Wits Vuvuzela reporters found him.
60 minute trip
John Malungani shows us how to call a taxi. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
John Malungani, 1st year BSc Com Sci,
has to commute for at least one hour a day to get to campus.
He says that he is more than willing to make the trip because of the good reputation that Wits has.
John lives in Tembisa. There is no taxi that comes straight from there to Wits, so he has to walk for another 15 minutes once he reaches Noord taxi rank.
He wishes he lived a little closer so that he could work and study till late on campus like other students.
“It’s hard travelling for two hours a day,” said Malungani.
SOME Zimbabwean students said Morgan Tsvangarai’s MDC “slept” during the run up to the 2013 elections.
Two Witsies and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters said the party had become complacent and failed to strategise. They said the MDC did not campaign enough and the party lacked the capacity to carry our proper research.
“MDC has been sleeping in the GNU [Government of National Unity]. MDC gave the impression that they were going to win, while Zanu (sic) was working hard,” said media studies PhD candidate Shepherd Mpofu.
Questionable MDC leadership
Mpofu said Africa’s political leaders are trapped in a state of consumption. He said the MDC enjoyed the “trappings of leadership and Zanu-PF used the moment in office to campaign”. He said Zanu-PF gave people land but the MDC didn’t do anything to help the people but were fighting among one another.
Languages professor Robert Muponde said the MDC controlled every aspect of Harare: “They wanted to clean Harare and were charging the locals high rates. Instead of understanding the constraints people had in terms of poverty, they started to switch off their lights.”
Political campaigning strategy
Wits PhD candidate and MDC supporter Crispen Chinguno said he voted for the MDC because he was voting for change but said they were “naïve, complacent, over-confident and were caught off-guard”.
Chinguno said the MDC contradicted its founding principles: [pullquote]“They are supposed to be a workers’ party but seem more neo-liberal. The trade unions aren’t comfortable with the current MDC.”[/pullquote] He said Zanu-PF outsmarted MDC because the party used social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to appeal to the youth market.
Mpofu said: “Zanu-PF hired a British PR [public relations] agency that helped change their image.” However, Mpofu said the election process was flawed.
He said: “The voters’ roll was not released on time and 99% of Zimbabweans are educated, why did they need assistance with voting?”
Muponde said he was “angry and disappointed” about the MDC’s complacency and the months leading to the elections. “There were irregularities, blatant theft and rigging,” he said.
[pullquote align=”right”]“These are double standards. The Zim elections are known to be bloody and lead to dislocations. So because there was no blood, both people housing the elections [the UN and SADC] say it was peaceful. They don’t look at the unfair practices,”[/pullquote] said Muponde.
He said the MDC thought they were the “darling of the people” and forgot “people politics”.
Mpofu said the group that started the MDC is going to start another party.
“I suspect some of the founders of MDC have become disillusioned and despondent. They might fund the new party,” Mpofu told Wits Vuvuzela.