Fewer political parties will do Zim good

HARARE - The crescendo over the forthcoming elections is getting louder and louder after President Robert Mugabe, once again, went undemocratic with ill-advised pronouncements of the election date.

Suddenly, other political parties have all come to life and “agreed” to join forces to oppose the election date. There has been a lot read into the announcement that parties had banded together to stand up against Mugabe’s insistence on holding elections on July 31.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai even went a step further and dreamt aloud about a united front at the polls.

The move, if there is any such serious move, is not going anywhere and Zimbabweans know that.

We have a problem with the parties concerned.

Usually when people or organisations pull their resources, they would be complementing each other by bringing something to add to what the other fellow or group has.

But when a party, like Zapu or Zanu Ndonga, is bringing nothing into a group, the result might be the destabilisation of the parties gunning for a combined effort.

While such parties add almost nothing, their ability to foul things up is high as Ncube’s MDC and Makoni’s “poor party” have already demonstrated.

While it sounds very good to unite and fight the battle together, I still wonder what, really, these mickey mouse political parties will bring into a coalition.

The danger here is that these minute political parties want to exist inside well- established and well-supported political parties but keep their separate identities and that is a recipe for disaster.

The other problem posed by this scenario is that the leaders of these parties all aspire to be presidents themselves.

Although Zanu PF and PF-Zapu came together and fought together in a combined effort to dislodge the colonial government when time for elections came, they contested the elections as individual political parties and that decision was made so as to gauge the strength of each — even if they were to form a unity government later.

The two political parties were important to Zimbabwe because they offered counterweight to each other. But years later, I was appalled when PF-Zapu was fooled into uniting with Zanu PF to effectively become one party.

Unity does not mean giving up one’s hopes and agenda for the nation to adopt the other party’s hopes and agenda for the nation. We must have several ideas to toy around with so that people can choose a preference, refine it and apply it on the nation.

We want varied ideas; we want to listen to different leaders, compare their agendas and prescriptions for the nation then decide which one we feel serves us better.

But when we all become one and listen to one man, such as we did with Mugabe, we would be hurting our own cause, as can be evidenced by the downward spiral that took place after the political parties became one.

I do, however, concede that PF-Zapu might have reached that decision for other reasons other than believing in Zanu PF’s political thinking.

“Circumstances dictate behaviour and I’m sure that in our situation all progressives must unite to achieve the change that the people expect,” Tsvangirai said.

“Let us set aside our personal interests and problems, let us all unite. It is in everyone’s interest to have this change and my party is committed to that.”

Almost word for word like Mugabe said when he was preparing to gobble down PF-Zapu.

PF-Zapu had a lot of support and that is why I was disappointed when they were swallowed by Zanu PF.

The leaders of Zanu Ndonga, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and Ncube’s MDC should not be talking about uniting with anyone but should consider disbanding their tiny groups and joining the main MDC and work together.

After all, they do not have any political ideology different from any other party.

If they are allowed to exist as individual members within “a coalition”, it will not be long before the main MDC has tears on its face.

These little groupings will, after the elections, also demand more than they are worth and we honestly do not need a government of national unity again.

The winner of the forthcoming elections must have a free hand to run the country and to choose who he or she wants to work with, not to be burdened by sharing Cabinet posts with useless appendages just because someone brought his wife and child as members of a party that joined the coalition pact to dislodge Zanu PF.

Unity is good but tread with care. - Tanonoka Joseph Whande


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