Former MDC MP for Glen View South Paul Madzore recently rejoined the party he helped found along with its leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 1999.
Our senior writer Mugove Tafirenyika spoke to Madzore about his return, life in the Tendai Biti-led People Democratic Party (PDP), his protest music and more. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Q: You are a founding member of the MDC but together with your younger brother Solomon, you broke ranks and formed PDP with Biti yet barely two years later you are back — leaving your brother. Why?
A: Look my brother, I have no any other sophistry or hidden force behind me other than the Almighty and love to dwell in as much truth as possible. So with that, what you see on Paul Madzore is what you get. If I greet you smiling it means I mean the true delivery of that smile.
Equally if I frown and show you that I am annoyed, I would not guarantee events that then follow. In other words I am just a simple character.
It would not give us a good picture on why I came back to the MDC if I also don’t hint why I had left in the first place. There were issues of leadership renewal that time, I must be honest, I never believed in that and neither was I part of the renewal machinations. Those that were behind the agenda of renewal , and I know some of them believe in God so they will testify positively to this, know clearly that they never saw this face or Madzore’ s imaginary face near their plans.
The answer is simple, I was not part of them and most importantly, I believe in Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership as the president of the movement and for the country as well.
However, there are seemingly less important or minor squabbles that always occur with any organisation as it grows bigger not just the MDC but general study has it that when an institution grows, its challenges also grow.
I am an example of a loyal cadre consumed by the flames of seemingly minor squabbles in an organisation.
However, I am also to blame because I should have sought the relevant authority to address whatever challenges I had.
So yeah…two wrongs do not make a right. I contributed wrongly to the challenges that faced the organisation then. I would safely say that my going away had nothing to do with issues of renewal. That’s why if you go to Glen View the structures there are intact.
Actually, the people I led were shocked to witness my leaving the party because I had never hinted any contrary opinion on our president Tsvangirai. In fact I never convinced anyone there to follow me. Not even my father because I also didn’t believe in the renewal agenda. So I allowed my emotions to drive me and I was wrong.
But my soul was never at rest because I fought against my conscience. So I am back home at the MDC. I guess time is a great healer.
Q: What about the reception you are getting?
A: The reception I am getting is so overwhelming and humbling. I think every honest member of the MDC family has one or two things to learn. I learnt a lot. I strongly believe that people are relevant to something they believe in. I was not relevant to the renewal agenda because honestly I didn’t believe in it.
Q: How was life outside the MDC?
A: It was not easy at all. The people at PDP are lovely citizens of this country and I have great respect for them. Unfortunately, I just could not continue to act like we were together. If I loved them I had to be honest with them hence my resignation peacefully from the PDP. I am not a loud character but equally am not reserved. I speak my mind when I feel it’s time to. But awkwardly I had become too reserved. It affected me personally. It affected my family. I thank God for the prayer warrior of a wife I have, Melody. She stood by me even as the public judged me
Q: Given that you have been led by both Biti and Tsvangirai, how do you rate the two?
A: I think these two used to complement each other very well. This devil that then visited the party in 2014; there are times I pray that this dream comes to pass. I would say Tsvangirai is your hardcore liberation struggle character that you need at this moment when the regime is so brutal, heartless and does not respect human dignity and worse still life. You need an all-weather crop like Tsvangirai in times like this.
Also for obvious reasons that I also hear ordinary people say…Morgan is a tried character. I know he is human but to a greater extent he has been honest to the masses of this country. How would you feel supporting another candidate today and they withdraw after nomination? I am not saying other candidates would do that. But I have an example of a candidate who has kept the people’s covenant and that’s Tsvangirai. To me he is the radical soldier you need now at the climax of this movie.
On Biti, I think he has his talent that you can’t take away from him and I would pray to see a day when there is total complementation of each other by our brothers and sisters in this struggle. I am not very qualified to classify fellow comrades in the struggle but I think we need each other. The earlier people realise there is need to find each other the better. But I maintain Tsvangirai makes a good candidate for Zimbabweans opposing this tyranny.
Q: You also sing protest songs and others that exalt Tsvangirai. Some have said you are a Tsvangirai bootlicker. How do you respond to that?
A: If you get any one of my songs, I give encouragement to the masses of Zimbabwe and to an equal extent the leadership at a given time. Some misconstrue or mistake this for bootlicking but it is not at all. I sing Tsvangirai’s name in his capacity as the leader of this movement to encourage him to continue to do good.
I also mention other leaders (his close lieutenants) in the same spirit. I also know that the Zanu PF regime has a culture of violence even to the elderly in the rural areas, so music is unbeatable.
Zimbabweans will listen all corners. Where the president and other leaders cannot address a rally because people will be victimised but our Mhenyamauro music will visit there.
I also touch on matters of public opinion to say for example if people don’t want a certain legislation we point it out, the same way you had Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo pointing out the ills of Ian Douglas Smith’s regime.
I admire Mapfumo’s courage as he did not act like an ostrich which buries its head in the sand and pretend all is well when there is fire all round its compound.
Q: Have you made efforts to engage the ZBC to have them play your music on radio or TV?
A: I have not attempted that because I know the response is negative by the regime. Anoridza dzaMadzore anodzingwa basa (they will lose their jobs) obviously and I am human so I feel for these brilliant DJs working for their families.
The last time I attempted to have a public concert in Masvingo (Mucheke) there was riot police all over as if they had bought ticket. Daily News