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Vision and imagination

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Inspired by this piece by Brian Chikwava, Kubatana recently sent a text message to our SMS subscribers asking their thoughts on Chikwava’s comment that “Mugabe aside, there is also the failure of the opposition to articulate its vision.”

We got mixed responses, with some agreeing with Chikwava, and others attributing the MDC’s difficulties to the constrained democratic space and absence of rights like freedom of expression.

Some of their replies included:

Well, yes there is need to re-check and weigh the seriousness of the current opposition and leadership, then develop the way forward.

No. The opposition is denied a chance to air it’s views to the people by the ruling party thru a network of legislation – POSA, AIPPA, etc. The overall impression will be that the opposition is not doing enough.

No matter how brilliant the opposition’s vision may be without genuine and active support from the masses they can only go so far

It is so becoz of the failure by the opposition to form one force & the failure to get the much needed publicity to their audiences.

I dont agree entirely. There is no political space 2 articulate.

I don’t think it’s the opposition that has failed, the evil regime has created conditions that have curtailed the efficacy of the opposition

Haisi yaTsvangirai to free this nation. Pliz do not point finger. Iwe neni tinebasa (It’s not (MDC leader Morgan) Tsvangirai’s job alone to free this nation. . . We all need to play our part.)

Instead of coming up with clear national policies and formulating strategies to win the elusive rural electorate they spend time mudslinging each other much to the glee of Zanu PF. The opposition must revisit its charter and really try articulate its envisaged vision and goals or else it could find itself in the dustbin of Zimbabwean politics.

A member in Masvingo sent us an email saying:

I feel that the only party that once demonstrated a lot of vibrancy at its inception is now failing to live up to its original promise of fighting for the suffering masses. Instead of focusing at the mammoth task at hand MDC has shamefully dismantled itself into factions a feature that does not only spell doom onto the restless electorate but further entrench the Zimbabwean populace into a serious economic and political logjam.

What these two factions are supposed to do is to unite and fight for the electorate who are the worst recipients of gross violation of human rights, abject poverty brought by mismanagement of our resources and serious misrule. Tsvangirai and Mutambara should not take us for granted .If they can’t lead to the much awaited political glory where democratic principles are jealously against decay and our battered economy is brought back on track then they have to call it quits and let those who are strong enough to absorb the political heat currently prevailing. Mugabe can be underrated at the opposition’s risk as he has vehemently denied to step down as required by the constitution and as if that is not enough the old man like wine is getting better with age in ZANU PF’s perspective.

Our subscribers’ comments are a sobering affirmation of Trevor Ncube’s contention that “Zimbabweans right now are confused by the division within the MDC. They are disheartened and indeed feel the pain of abuse that comes from Zanu-PF. They are running around looking for a home and they are unable to find it. For me the third way has been a rejection of the politics of Zanu-PF, a rejection of the politics of the MDC and an opportunity to offer a new beginning for Zimbabweans. But I have realised that the third way is an idealistic position…an idealistic position that in this particular time might be a luxury.”

As the prospect of 2008 elections draws ever closer, I’m finding an increasing need to suspend my own cynicism. I am seeking hope and encouragement that the prospect of this “third way” is not so naive or idealistic after all – that somehow it is possible to re-imagine the terrain of struggle in Zimbabwe, shake up the ways we articulate issues and position ourselves. I’m looking for ways to move to a space where “politics” isn’t about whether I belong to one political party or another, but is instead, to paraphrase Martha Gellhorn, about “my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future or any future.”

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