Zim opposition facing extinction?

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IT WAS a journey of 40 years, one which the children of Israel endured until they reached Canaan, but unlike the Israelites, who turned a corner after four decades, the opposition in Zimbabwe has remained in the wilderness.

For 40 years, the opposition has failed to dislodge the ruling Zanu PF party from power in a struggle which has left many bruised and weary.

While, in 2008, the opposition stood a great chance of winning power, it has failed to keep the momentum, and has allowed itself to be broken into pieces over years.

The country’s biggest opposition political party, the MDC, formed in 1999 by people with a strong labour background is currently in sixes and sevens, following irreconcilable differences.

While, it has been torn apart before, this year’s squabbles are threatening to annihilate the opposition.

The party’s interim leader, Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa are at each other’s throats over the control of the 20-year-old party.

All hell broke loose after the death of the party’s founding father Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018, leading to Chamisa’s controversial ascendancy to power, which was nullified by the Supreme Court in March this year.

Political analysts, who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday, said the opposition needs to do more if it seeks to remain relevant in Zimbabwe’s politics.

Respected University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political analyst Eldred Masunungure said people are losing confidence and trust in political entities and their leaders.

“Of course, we are aware of the machinations of the ruling party, of seeking to dismantle the opposition, but we are not seeing a robust response from opposition itself and because of that people are starting to lose confidence. Many of the people are frustrated, fatigued, weary of the goings on in the opposition,” Masunungure said.

He said the onus was now on the opposition leaders to go above the situation in a bid to save their movement from extinction.

“They have to bury the hatchet through some form of an opposition unity accord. That is not impossible if they swallow their pride. They need to look at the bigger picture and bury their pride,” he said.

During the 2018 elections, Zimbabwe had more than 120 political parties registered to participate in the polls. A number of them sank into oblivion soon after the elections, with only a few remaining relevant and visible.

All of these parties have been failing to make a significant mark on the political arena. While the MDC had managed to stand the test of time, its current trials and tribulations have become a unique challenge with dire consequences.

Already 13 MDC MPs have since been recalled from Parliament by the Khupe camp, creating confusion and loss of hope.

Beyond resolving their differences, political analyst Admire Mare said, there were a number of things that the opposition needed to do to survive the onslaught and remain relevant.

“One route is to make sure they penetrate rural strongholds of Zanu PF and also sell their change agenda to stakeholders like the security apparatuses. There is also need to increase the cost of electoral fraud by plugging all holes that can be used to manipulate elections.

“The opposition must ensure all polling stations have their supporters not sympathisers so they can check all electoral malpractices. There is also need to push for electoral and political reforms so that the country doesn’t face another disputed plebiscite. The other issue is that opposition parties must avoid unnecessary vote-splitting by forging a united front,” Mare said.

Another political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme said while all odds are against the current government, it would remain in power because of a weaker opposition, which lacks strategy and tact.

“Zanu PF under Mnangagwa is at its lowest ebb. Mnangagwa is to Zimbabwe (US President Donald Trump) is to the US. The odds are against Mnangagwa, Covid-19 does not help him, the economy does not help, corruption does not help him, elite discohesion does not help. Mnangagwa succeeded in alienating Zanu PF from the people tenfold of what Mugabe did,” Saungweme said.

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