Opposition must show leadership

LONDON - In the past few weeks, some opposition figures have berated Zimbabweans for being docile in the face of prolonged authoritarian rule and poverty.

First it was Tendai Biti of the renewal team who said Zimbabweans were simply cowards.

Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club last week, the Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said President Robert Mugabe’s tyranny was an “indictment” on the people of Zimbabwe.

“The indictment is on Zimbabweans themselves; you can’t blame him (Mugabe) for wanting to stay in power. We must blame ourselves for allowing him to stay in power if we feel he is no longer capable of being in power.”

As I said recently, any of us who has been confronted by a curious foreigner has been asked why Mugabe has remained in power for so long despite chronically adverse conditions that would trigger revolt elsewhere.

The answer is, no-one is prepared to put his or her neck on the block.

Just over a week ago was the anniversary of the execution of Sophie Scholl for her role in the anti-Nazi White Rose resistance movement. Sophie was a young girl who confronted the might of Hitler’s Third Reich. She was executed for it.

But before her neck was placed under the guillotine, she intoned: “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?” 

“Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go,” she continued, “but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?

How many of us would want to face the fate of Sophie or even walloping on the streets, even the accusing opposition elite?

It is well and good for the opposition to criticise the people.

But where is the leadership?

Since some of them were pummelled at a prayer meeting some years ago, the opposition withdrew into their shells in dread.

Now, all the opposition does is speak at these various forums or issue one ireful press statement after another from the comfort of their offices. 

Obert Gutu, spokesperson for Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, has been prolific in churning them or speaking out, urging Mugabe to resign. Gutu is not wrong in enjoining a ruler now clearly incapacitated by advanced age to step down.

But are we seriously expecting that Mugabe will one day wake up and say: “OK, Mr Gutu I have listened to you, I am packing my bags from State House heading for Zvimba?”

Fat chance.

Mugabe will stay put; eat another sumptuous cake, some more elephants feasted upon on February 21 next year.

Distressingly, the opposition, in its silly fragments, has descended into retrogressive personality politics, frequently opposing each other unnecessarily. 

One group proposes a conference to discuss the national crisis. Another says no.

And the objection is not necessarily motivated by the badness of an idea. Rather, it is because the perceived “badness” of the personality behind it.

Biti and Dube can accuse the generality of Zimbabweans of pusillanimity. Last year, Tsvangirai said he was planning to lead nationwide peaceful demonstrations.

None of these two other factions rallied behind him or the idea. And the reason? Because the proposition had been made by Tsvangirai. The idea died.

And yet a pertinent question has been posed: if you were prepared to negotiate with Mugabe, why can’t you talk amongst yourselves?

Is it because negotiating with Mugabe came with the promise of public office and material rewards?

And it is you, the opposition, who failed to dismantle the pauperising, repressive system and biased electoral machinery that sustains Mugabe — all you now accuse people of not protesting against — while you were in the cosy lap of the coalition.

If the opposition has the support it claims to have, let them show their courageous leadership and ability to mobilise.

Unless they are prepared to take the lead, the opposition elite are cowards too.


Comments (7)


Godfrey - 3 March 2015

How can we expect opposition to show leadership when they don't have leaders?

Mashoko Makukutu - 3 March 2015

Mind you Biti and Ncbe leads teams and Tsvangirayi leads a party unfortunately we Zimbos are what somebody said road runners, they are released in the morning and they troop back in the evening. When we are preparing a meal we keep a stick to keep them away, but when we want to kill one of them we throw a bit of grain to entice them, This is exactly Zimbabwe's story. keep a whip for the people away from mainstream economy and let them harass each other in the streets, when you want their vote throw a party for them. throw presidential inputs after vote crack the whip again. I feel pity for Zimbabweans, they know from Gukurahundi that zanupf kills without restraint hence the docility.

maita - 4 March 2015

Yu want people to revolute by talking of the Gukurahundi, we want our ZANU PF, we vote for it everytime unlike yu kungotaura chete .without voting for your puppet part

nnngggn - 4 March 2015

thats true my fellow we lack the courage to confront mugabe. hapana munhu achada zanu kusara kwezvipfukuto only because they are bootlickers and thats only 10% of the total electorate vachiri kuda mugabe. real opposition leader must start to take action now MAI MUJURU CHIMBOTAURAIWO MAKUCHEKERESA VAMWE

gunnz - 4 March 2015

Youre spot on Conrad. there are no leaders in opposition, just power hungry people, making them no different from Zanu PF

kanye - 4 March 2015

I might not have done anything myself besides voting, hoping my vote would count but alas! However, the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai have indeed stood up to the dictatorship, beaten, wives murdered, jailed etc. To say noone has done anything is urinating on the graves of brave comrades like Tonderai Ndira, Talent Mabika, Tichaona Chiminya, Lookout Masuku, Edison Sithole, Rashiwe Guzha etc. There are many below the quarry at Epworth..unkown soldiers, many in disused mines like Chibondo who tried to dislodge this cruel regime. Many have been murdered, many have disappered from 1980. Many still do today. However, we continue even today to fight the regime with our little means, even with the likes of Thabo Mbeki aiding the regime, salivating at our blood, wanting to bash our brains out, spill more blood...but hear me brother... the end is in sight. Please dont try to discourage us. There are many who died trying to fee us from these Mugabe yokes!

Charakupa - 4 March 2015

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