Calls for uniting opposition parties misplaced

BULAWAYO The internal struggle and political conflict in Zimbabwe since 1995 has been to increase democratic election space and banish forever the one-party state syndrome and state security defector-rule from our beloved country.

The one-party state and die-in-office syndrome was made fashionable on our continent by the rise of African nationalism.

While African nationalism brought to the continent political independence, a great achievement and a good thing in itself, it however, brought challenges on the democratic election front.

A lot of political leadership challenges we faced after independence and we continue to face today particularly with political violence between political parties, tribalism, provincialism, village politics, sell-out politics, political exploitation of women and youths by male elders of the party and many more are rooted in the rise of nationalism in the 60s.

The political intolerance and politics of hate that the nation is experiencing today were planted back then in 1963 and the years that followed by those who are elders of politics in our country today.
As the election battle season nears the climax we hear repeated calls from many sectors of our community opinion leaders for the two MDCs to join forces.

Some of it amounts to psychological pressure on these two political parties.

Many want all opposition political parties to come together to contest the election.

I don’t think this should be the case.

The MDCs should not join forces just as much as Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa should not join forces.
These political parties should just grow and sale themselves to gunner the largest number of votes from the electorate.

The unfortunate part is that the majority of political leadership in this beloved country of ours is not composed of visionaries but just selfish political activists who learnt opportunistic politics from the “fathers” of African nationalism.

They see this election’s objective as just to remove President Robert Mugabe from State House and take away the country from Zanu PF.

For them to achieve this selfish short-term goal, the MDCs and all other political opposition players must unite.

They are all calculating who is nearest to the corridors of power within their opposition ranks so that if Mugabe leaves they jump in and enjoy the benefits he was enjoying and those at a distance are holding tight on the jackets of those who are close to the gravy train so that they can be by the sidewalk of those who will get to power.

For most political activists it is not about opening democratic space by pressing for political reform but just removing Mugabe for the reason that they want to come in and enjoy the benefits that he is enjoying as president.

I find this political attitude very disturbing.

The over 17-year-old struggle in this country is all about political reform and increasing election democratic space that the coming together of the two liberation nationalist political movements narrowed to almost a one-party state since 1987 with the Unity Accord of a nation whose population was not fighting each other in the first place!

Now after this long bitter struggle when we have come a long way to having three national political parties, we call for the reversal of the process back to a two-party state that can easily be reduced to a one-party state.

Zimbabwe’s political landscape will do well with three national broad-based political parties and at least two strong regional political parties to advocate for regional issues and keep the national parties connected to the local development agendas.

In fact Zimbabweans should be assisting the two MDCs and Zanu PF to grow bigger particularly with finance and young people joining these three political parties in large numbers from across the country.
Only then can we look back and say, we have suffered and raised the bar when it comes to political reforms and the expansion of democratic space in Zimbabwe.

I know that there are people who are intoxicated by the idea of removing Mugabe from power and tell you what, these will be the same people who will be leading crusades of removing the next elected president of Zimbabwe if they find themselves with no political positions that they hope to get should Mugabe go.

Political reform and democratisation should be the focus and in this regard Zimbabwe is progressing well and we should not turn back the clock by putting pressure on the two MDCs to come together.

Let us encourage them to stay apart and grow stronger to avoid politics of landslide election victories.
A healthy Parliament for Zimbabwe should be well-balanced with members from different political parties to allow for healthy debates and accountability.

The one and two-political party state romances of the past are not good for this country.
We all know so.

What we should be getting now and enjoying to debate are election manifestos from these three political parties and not the daily dose of factionalism and campaigns of non-political violence.

It is sad that to date with elections so close we hear more political clowning than serious election marketing from political parties.

The country needs political maturity from all of you bo mama labo baba for the country to grow to be able to look after its fast growing jobless young population.

You are wasting time and life of our future generations by entertaining hate politics ahead of manifesto politics, so just drop the hate and give the nation election issues of your political parties.

Stop telling us who messed the country and how because after years of what we have gone through, we already know. Zimbabwe is not full of stupid heads!

Tell us what you will do to transform the country to a land of milk and honey for all people. - Cont Mhlanga

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