The future of Zim opposition politics

HARARE - The recent split in the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has left Zimbabwe’s opposition very weak.

Without delving into the justifications for actions taken by either of the two camps involved, it is imperative to give an analysis of what is most likely going to transpire if Zimbabwe goes to the next election with a divided opposition or a coalition of small opposition parties that does not include Tsvangirai’s MDC.

It’s a public secret that the Tsvangirai-led MDC is broke. It’s having trouble paying its workers. Donors have abandoned Tsvangirai and he has taken to mobilising funds from MPs in his party, the National Council and general members of the party.

This route is unlikely going to provide the MDC with enough money to function properly let alone run an election campaign in the future.

The party is also supposed to share $3 million with Zanu PF from the Zimbabwe government but it’s a paltry amount that will not take the party far.

Hence the biggest challenge the MDC faces in removing Zanu PF in the next election is funding: it’s needed for the party to survive till 2018 and it’s required for a successful campaign when that year approaches.

Biti’s renewal team faces an entirely different problem altogether.

Recent media reports show that they do not have active supporters on the ground. Now here it is important to note that active supporters are those that attend rallies and attend party functions.

Tsvangirai has a lot of these but Biti does not. The importance of active supporters is that they give an impression that a political party enjoys massive support with the public.

This is very important for a political party for poorly-attended rallies give a very bad image of a party. It is important to point out that though Biti and his renewal team may not have a lot of active supporters, it is possible that they appeal to a sizeable chunk of the electorate.

Urban voters, many of whom may not be in the business of attending rallies, may side with Biti thus taking away a lot of voters from Tsvangirai in the next election which will give Zanu PF an advantage.

A proposed grand coalition of small parties including Biti’s renewal team is most likely going to be weak in comparison to Tsvangirai’s MDC but it could be strong enough to gain a few seats in Parliament and deny Tsvangirai victory in the presidential election by dividing the vote if they field one candidate.

A component that is most likely going to strengthen the proposed grand coalition if it emerges is ample funding that will make their campaign more effective.

All the scenarios discussed may lead to a Zanu PF victory in the next election. The following scenarios could lead to its defeat.

l Tsvangirai calls it quits at the next congress that has been scheduled for late 2014. A new leader takes control of the MDC, preferably Nelson Chamisa who appears to have a lot of national appeal and is easy to sell to the electorate.

This will make the party appear democratic and differentiate it from other African parties in which leaders refuse to leave power. It will also open up much-needed funding as erstwhile funders of the party seem to have a problem with Tsvangirai not the whole MDC project.

Furthermore, this would weaken the renewal team as most of their arguments seem to be based on the fact that Tsvangirai is clinging to power.

- The renewal team and Tsvangirai’s MDC patch things up and go to elections as one party. This will pose a bigger threat to Zanu PF and could lead to its defeat. However, this scenario is very unlikely as the renewal team seems to have crossed the Rubicon.

- Tsvangirai’s MDC and all important smaller opposition parties form a grand coalition against Zanu PF. This could unlock much-needed funding for the Tsvangirai-led MDC and prevent splitting of the vote that will give Zanu PF an advantage.

None of the three scenarios however, will lead to the defeat of Zanu PF if care is not taken to ensure that the next election is free and fair.

Another scenario is a possible loose coalition of the renewal team and a faction of moderates in Zanu PF.

Comments (12)

i think its too early to say the opposition would be weak if this and that happens. mdc t is yet to have new leaders after biti and co. exit. biti is failing to put his so called renewal to active party but a bunch of fools bent to spill rubbish at any given time. let them go off mdc logo. any opposition coalition without tsvangirai is doomed. look zambian sata, he has been in opposition for over 30yrs, he persisted eventually he made it. biti and co. are just greed and power hungry, where is munyaradzi gwisai,ask him what happens if your head grows bigger than the body


Splits should be expected in any meaningful struggle. The recent so-called split in MDC-T was good riddance of bad rubbish. It does not matter who goes. Leaders,like Parties come & go. Opposition politics will continue to grow even stronger without the traitors. You can't pretend opposition politics is storng in Zimbabwe yet it is full of shit.Let reactionaries go wherever they like.

CHAKABUDA - 19 May 2014

Please we can't keep sell outs in our midst just for the sake of pretended UNITY. iT IS VERY GOOD FOR OPPOSITION POLITICS THAT BITI & HIS FELLOW SLLOUTS HAVE LEFT THE STRUGGLE...

SANGANAI - 19 May 2014

Please we can't keep sell outs in our midst just for the sake of pretended UNITY. iT IS VERY GOOD FOR OPPOSITION POLITICS THAT BITI & HIS FELLOW SLLOUTS HAVE LEFT THE STRUGGLE...

SANGANAI - 19 May 2014

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,,water,, - 19 May 2014

I think for zim politics to change the fortunes of the country the povo the electorate should flex their muscle. A lot of channels and institutions are there for the taking. I don't believe it should always be about Tsvangirai or Mugabe ZANU pf or MDC. It should be about what us people want iregardless of names . A new leader a new party can come on board and champion the people driven cause.

Eddy - 19 May 2014

Nelson Chamisa please take over becoz Gumbura is tired!

Chasura - 19 May 2014

See it is because of this one sided reporting that the Daily news is going broke. We spoke with our money Mr Editor. Busy playing us for fools with your misleading headlines day in day out. Even the Herald now publishes better balanced stories than you. You are a poor reflection of the original Daily news. Enjoy your last days as a paper.

Vashe - 19 May 2014

chamisa is an imbecile. remember that mdc lost 2013 elections becoz he imposed candidates leading to bhora mudondo by mdc supporters. that boy has not matured from being a polytech secretarial students. his insistence that those who were there at the formation of the mdc are its owners smacks of a Mugabe syndrome. why not love moyo or mashakada? morgan is still very relevant but beware of chamisa and mwonzora- these are numbskulls.

mugadzaweta - 20 May 2014

In South Africa the DA changed leadership from Tony Leon to Zille before taking over power nationally or even in W Cape…The idea being a democratic movement that claims to stand for leadership accountability and democratic principles needed to demonstrate its comitment even before taking power….MT has played his part-15 years at the helm let us show Zimbabweans kuti MDC is not also another party of handiende….MT step down and allow another leader to be chosen…If MT dies today MDC&democratic struggle should not die with him so if he retires it is not a disaster…There is a future beyond MT…Once we say MT 'desrves' to be in state house for his sacrifice it is the same as ZANU saying they deserve to rule no matter what bcoz they sacrificed in liberation struggle….MDC MUST show it is better than ZANU otherwise why support the same???

wezhira wezhara - 20 May 2014

In SA,DA changed leadership in an orderly manner.Mandela ruled for only 5yrs&he happily handed over power to Mbeki. These are examples of well intended pple. This Biti nonsense can never be accepted. Yes leadership change will happen in MDC-T but not in the way Biti&company wanted to do it. After all there is no valid reason for leadership change in MDC-T at the moment. We can never be hoodwinked by hypocrites who intend to hijack the pple's struggle. Indeed,this is a very long&tiresome struggle. Those who want quick results may quit.

NYADZISAI - 21 May 2014

Vince Musesewe's article in the ZIMBABWEAN newspaper of 15/5/14 was grossly misleading. Vince portrayed himself as an educated idiot for failing to see the dangerous hypocricy in BITI & CO's actions,intended to fragment & therefore weaken the opposition MDC-T. While a constitutional,wise challenge to an erring leadership deserves support,this can't be said of Biti,Mangoma etc's clandestine actions. The MDC-T pple rightly felt betrayed by these guys they had so much trusted;hence the pple's frenzied reaction. RGM&ZPF never applauded Tekere's break up to form ZUM. Why should MT&MDC-T pple watch helplessly as their party is torn apart? Honestly,these pple have an inalienable right&duty to protect their party. The opposition MDC-T does not need the so called 'leadership renewal'foolishly being called for by the confusionists. This is tantamount to SELLING OUT. NO,THERE IS NO FOOLISH VIOLENCE IN THE MDC-T, but they have the right to react when provoked.

Kugarika Tangenhamo - 30 May 2014

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