Grand coalition a marriage of convenience

EDITOR — The recent launch of a new opposition party, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru has brought a ray of hope for the formation of a grand coalition of opposition parties to dislodge Zanu PF from power.

It is true when they say forced marriages will never materialise. Those fortunate enough to kick-start, in most cases, never get anywhere.

If individuals are forced into a marriage, normally the life-span of that marriage will be short.

Marriages of convenience have more demerits than merits.

The road to forming alliances is fraught with challenges.

Truth be said, each member of the coalition suffers from a sense of insecurity.

The Dumiso Dabengwa-led Zapu has recently hinted that it was open to a coalition with Mujuru’s ZPF.

Zapu’s regional spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa believes that ZPF and Zapu share the same background of the liberation struggle, hence they should coalesce. Though they share a similar political background, the idea of uniting those two parties is just a pie in the sky.

The downside of forming an alliance of political parties is that all the leaders of different parties crave power.

In the event that the union materialises, a slight digression from the common agenda or misjudging a partner’s sentiment can cause great damage to the union.

The other thing is, if a single party withdraws support and walks out of the alliance, the entire unit faces the threat of becoming irrelevant. 

In grand coalitions, every party has certain constraints, which often force them to ignore their partners’ anti-democratic activities. They deliberately try not to criticise their partners because if they do so, the alliance would suffer.

Since its launch, ZPF has been saying it is ready to work with every political party fighting to bring a democratic dispensation in the country. However, an alliance between political parties is often affected by differences in ideology among the leaders of those parties.

Egos of disgruntled politicians usually affect the output. Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Growth of factionalism in different parties is a by-product of coalition politics. This creates fissures within the alliance and also damages the fabric of communal harmony.

A coalition of failed politicians will never work. In 2014, Mujuru was expelled from Zanu PF after being accused of plotting to unconstitutionally remove President Robert Mugabe from power.

That feeling of insecurity after being purged is in most people who were ousted from Zanu PF, whom Mujuru is now courting. All of them have nothing new to offer to the people of Zimbabwe.

Mainstream MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has a big brother mentality which renders any prospects of a coalition next to impossible. He feels all opposition parties must be under his leadership. Hence, he will never accept to be under the leadership of either Mujuru or Dabengwa. On the other hand, some former MDC officials, including Tendai Biti have vowed that they will never work with Tsvangirai again. This shows that the idea of a grand coalition is unworkable.

Sibusiso Ndlamini

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