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A popular but largely ineffectual opposition

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An analysis of the MDC’s comedy of errors reveals a party leadership that is naive, politically immature and obsessed with getting to state house as an end in itself. Lack of clear leadership and capacity to take advantage of the many opportunities presenting in Zimbabwe for change have left me doubting the MDC’s capacity not only to dislodge the ZANU PF regime from power but also to govern. MDC has earned itself the description of ‘a popular but largely ineffective opposition in Zimbabwe’. The strategies employed to date to oust the Mugabe regime has left many wondering when they will deliver the change promised two parliamentary elections ago. Ineffectiveness suggests use of inappropriate approaches, irrelevant tools and methods (that may have worked in the past but are no longer effective) coupled with poor analysis of the situation and lack of clear direction. As the saying goes, if you continue to do the same thing, you will always get what you have always gotten-in this case defeat. This requires changes in tactics and approaches (zvinoda kuchinja maitiro) as the MDC saying goes. The MDC and ZANU (PF) have failed to move the country beyond their differences and judging by how conflicts have gone elsewhere in Africa, the stalemate can last for decades while people on the ground are suffering.

. . . so says Maggie Makanza in her recent article entitled, The ‘makonifactor’ in the Zimbabwe Presidential race – seeing into the future.

Maggie raises a number of interesting points. Worth noting is her comment on Zimbabweans having an “emotional” attachment to the Movement for Democratic Change which translates into the feeling that one “should” vote for them because they’ve had a long and hard battle against Mugabe and Zanu PF. But Maggie rightly points out that our blind acceptance and support for Mugabe “the liberator” helped establish his dictatorship and landed us in the mess we’re in now. I’ve been interested to note that for many Zimbabweans our politics boils down to the good guys versus the bad guys. Unfortunately that is just not good enough! Zimbabweans across the board need to get more demanding of their political candidates and keep them accountable, before, during and after elections.

Maggie also raises the issue of selfishness and takes the MDC to task for their inability to set aside their differences to present a united front to challenge Mugabe . . .

The issue is not whether the MDC should participate in elections or not as asked elsewhere. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t following a comedy of tragic errors in the Mbeki brokered negotiations with ZANU PF and self-centredness shown through its recent failure to unite the splintered Tsvangirai/Mutambara factions over a mere 20 seats in parliament. I also read elsewhere that sitting MPs in the Tsvangirai led faction will retain their seats and not contest primary elections. Perhaps they do not understand the very democracy that they are fighting for. While Zimbabwe is burning, they haggle over 20 seats in parliament and are interested in protecting their positions, so what is the difference with ZANU PF?

Read the full text of her article here and also check out our special index page of aggregated information on Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections.

One comment to “A popular but largely ineffectual opposition”

  1. Comment by Roger:

    My reply to Maggie’s request for feedback was this:

    You say it yourself: He has remained (and wishes to remain) a loyal member of a party that “thrives on patronage and corruption”. What sort of a recommendation is that? Could he be “clean” simply because he hasn’t been found out yet? So why should you vote for him? What does he stand for? What are his policies? If he is loyal to ZANU(PF) does he support its “land reform programme”? He has certainly never spoken out against it. And does he support the price controls that have destroyed business operations? He hasn’t said. If he did win, how much of ZANU(PF) – policies and people – would he retain in government? We don’t know.

    You’re guessing “because of the person that he is”. But is that enough? We don’t really know what sort of a person he is as a candidate because we don’t know where he stands on a myriad of issues.

    You say: “I urge you to pause and think soberly about the forthcoming elections and ask yourself, as things stand, who has the qualification to rule.”

    You might do that yourself. There is plenty of time yet.