By Gumisai Nyoni
That Zimbabwe has failed to attain change since 2000 owing to the endless grip by Zanu PF, which has thrived heavily on unorthodox means – electoral rigging and intimidation to retain power, a need for a strong opposition coalition is critically necessary, if not inevitable, for the nation to move out of economic doldrums.
The entry of Zimbabwe People First, led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, to join other political formations such as the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T, MDC led by Welshman Ncube, Mavambo/Kusile Dawn led by Simba Makoni, cements the tide that is supposed to topple the frail and ailing old dictator President Robert Mugabe (92), through electoral means, from power – a development many disgruntled citizens are awaiting.
During the first decade of independence, remember Mugabe tried tirelessly to institute a One-Party-State system in Zimbabwe, which however steered a lot of debate in the media, as well as in Parliament, forcing him to abandon the idea. Despite pretending to respect multiparty electoral democracy, the governance system was and is still ingrained in the values on one-party militarised state system. Zimbabwe is a defacto one-party military state. Mugabe simply surrounded himself with political opportunists too afraid to challenge his archaic and retrogressive policies. They opt to praise-sing and dance for him in order to get rewards through ministerial positions and unscrupulous deals.
That is exactly why it was difficult for Tsvangirai and the MDC-T to remove Zanu PF from power because the banner of democracy waved by Mugabe serves as a smokescreen to hide the tyranny behind his rule.
With such a skewed prevailing governance system still intact, there is need for the formation of a grand political coalition to counter Zanu PF’s rigging tactics and ensure that the electorate is not split in four of Zanu PF come 2018. The plan by the ruling party is to ensure that opposition parties continue to have discord and fail to sing from the same hymn, when in fact, their unity is necessary to liberate Zimbabwe’s economy that is reeling from mismanagement and poor governance.
At the moment, Zanu PF’s support base has definitely been negatively affected. The few remaining supporters are likely to follow the drift of change as economic hardships continue to bite. Zanu PF, surviving primarily to serve the First Family – Mugabe and his wife Grace, has ceased to be relevant to the needs and demands of ordinary citizens.
Voting unnecessarily accords the ruling party relevance, when it’s supposed to have been long buried in political dustbin. Who speaks sense in Zanu PF? Nobody – all politicians riding on Mugabe’s back lack insight and a developmental mindset. A tired horse is not worth competing in any race. Unfortunately the ruling party strongly believes in tired horses.
This environment gives opposition leaders, especially Tsvangirai and Mujuru, the power and chance to mobilise more support. They are there to guide followers since the donation process of supporters has been taking place for long and continue to take place due to disgruntlement of masses caused by Zanu PF’s dismal failure to rule.
Already Zanu PF knows it cannot win any election and has never won an election since 2000. After being trounced by MDC in 2008, forcing it to resort to violence in the run-off election that was held on June 27 that year, the ruling party is governing not according to people’s will but according to its own will. The people spoke a big NO, but Mugabe still can’t accept the message of rejection.
Precisely opposition parties need to invade Zanu PF’s grassroots support bases, come out openly to campaign and share a message of solidarity with the masses who are exposed to harsh economic conditions because of Zanu PF, while opposition leaders should not be greedy for power – rather they should hunger to emancipate the people.
Zimbabwe cannot afford another slip in 2018 as in 2013. The nation immediately needs rescue and if Mujuru and Tsvangirai unite with all other opposition forces, then the likelihood of Zanu PF’s continual entrenchment of tyranny will come to an end. The opposition must also guard against infiltration of its structures by ruling party spies to avoid sowing of discord as the process of rebuilding Zimbabwe begins.
With a united opposition force, there is hope for the establishment of a new Zimbabwe, whose citizens go to school, access drugs in hospitals and clinics, get employed after graduating and whose industries will be up and running.