'Unite or new leaders emerge'

HARARE - Opposition political parties should unite and form a grand coalition so as to dislodge Zanu PF, failure of which new leadership will automatically emerge, social and political commentators contend.

While former Vice President Joice Mujuru and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai have recently called for a united front, commentators say there is little movement on the ground meant to bring all opposition leaders together.

Media practitioner Tabani Moyo says if the opposition is serious about winning state power from Zanu PF they have no other option except uniting.

“What they will do with the power after winning it is what matters rather than quarrelling on positions when they are still to get the power.

“Serious opposition or political parties have power retention as their objective and they sort the spread of use thereafter.

“They have to simply disembark from their high horses and start talking and setting the framework that is if they are serious about it,” said Moyo.

He said Zanu PF is already working on 2023 and the opposition is in sixes and sevens quarrelling about the power which they don’t have.

“True leadership understands when to take leadership ahead of personal interest. If it’s too hard to accept they simply need to request for a convener and they start the process.

“If they don’t unite, this might be their last chance as significant players in polity.

“You can see that the people of Zimbabwe are expressing themselves without the leadership of political parties and if it continues, there is high possibility of a new crop of leadership emerging out of this chaos.”

Researcher and political commentator Dewa Mavhinga said those leading the various progressive opposition political formations should take the initiative to engage and find one another around a common vision and goal towards a grand coalition.

“However, in this, for the purposes of smooth negotiations, they may choose and agree on mediators or facilitators for such talks, for instance, from Church leaders with impeccable credentials of integrity and impartiality and who are committed to the progress of Zimbabwe above all other things,” said Mavhinga.

He suspects what may delay such talks is the ongoing assessment of the relative strength of support that each political party commands relative to others.

Mavhinga added: “One key question to be answered by each political party to the satisfaction of the others is on size of following, and in what areas in the country to avoid a scenario where serious political parties enter into coalitions with briefcase political parties that exist only in the papers but with no following on the ground.”

Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya could only say: “The opposition political parties need to agree on a neutral candidate, constituency allocation and a professional Cabinet.

“Without a neutral candidate, jostling for influence will fracture any possible arrangement.”

Social commentator Elliot Pfebve said in any mediation, it is neither the perpetrator nor the victim that should initiate an agreement.

“Historical mediation is initiated by a third party with no direct benefit to any position of power that may come out of such an arrangement.

“The media turned to propagate public mood and it is up to civic organisations and churches to pick up on cues and act in the interest of the majority.

“It is therefore anticipated that the church or civic organisations will force the opposition parties to come to the negotiation table and rescue Zimbabwe,” said Pfebve.

He added that the outcome of such marathon meetings is left to the parties concerned, as to who should be the consensus leader to be put forward as ultimate presidential candidate.

Journalist Tonderai Kwidini said what Zimbabwe needs now is a true coalition of the people not that of the rent-seeking politicians.

“The reason why the politicians are failing to initiate a strong and binding coalition is because they are doing it for themselves. Why should they be worried about who would be what in government if they win an election?

“No one should be bigger than Zimbabwe and its people. If they are to win they do so with the people so the question of who becomes what which seems to have bogged down the birth of a strong question should be immaterial,” said Kwidini.

He added that tight now opposition political party leaders are simply putting their egos in front and as long as they continue to do that the people shall form their own coalition.

“This is not far off as evidenced by the emergence of several pressure groups and a clamour for formation of new political parties.

“If a coalition is to happen let it be for the benefit of the people not the politicians. Any principle for such should be guided by the interests of the people and nothing else,” said Kwidini.

Mining activist Farai Maguwu said a strategy is required to bring the opposition together and maybe the clergy must lead the process.

“The focus must not however be on capturing power as it seems all leaders are too power hungry.

“It’s also not advisable for them to rush into coalitions as some might be compromised. Possibly two coalitions shall emerge — one around Tsvangirai and the other around Mujuru. This will no doubt split the opposition vote to the advantage of Zanu PF.”

Media practitioner Rashweat Mukundu believes though that there are too many egos of the foolish in opposition political parties which are more driven by personalities not the desire to see change in Zimbabwe.

“As such it is difficult if not next to impossible for either Mujuru or Tsvangirai to accept to play second fiddle to the next person.

“This tells us that opposition parties are more interested in capturing power as Zanu PF has done for selfish ends.

“The grand coalition is therefore pie in the sky and chances are high that the opposition will get to 2018 divided as much as Zanu PF is and this is a Godsent for the ruling party which by all measure will romp to victory without much sweat,” said Mukundu.

Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said coalitions driven by the objective to merely dislodge the ruling party and not by a shared ideology or vision for the country are unsubstantial and problematic at least on two accounts.

“Firstly, there is a real danger that the dogmatic political leaders in this case Tsvangirai and Mujuru would want to test each other’s prowess and reduce any negotiation for a coalition to the numbers game.

“This will make any agreement inconsequential as the negotiations would have been carried out from a position of strength and in bad faith.

“Secondly, there will be a crisis of legitimacy of this sort of coalition, not least from the grass root membership of the respective parties but from a general voter’s perspective whose vote may not necessarily be a protest one,” said Nyamutumbu.

He added that if we are to use the two main protagonists in this whole coalition discourse, there is evidence that Tsvangirai has traditional supporters, who feel that a coalition with Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First is tantamount to going to bed with the enemy.

“Likewise, some of Mujuru’s supporters, especially those that remain inclined to the ruling party’s ideologies would not necessarily be comfortable joining hands with Tsvangirai in an electoral pact.

“I think more than anything, the parties should first build consensus on key electoral conditions and/or system that they should jointly advocate for in fostering democratic elections in Zimbabwe and any negotiation to merge should be organic and informed more by alternative policies rather than just doing away with Zanu PF,” said Nyamutumbu.

Mbira maker Albert Chimedza said the opposition should first learn to respect each other and also learn to respect their colleagues and constituents.

“The current tone of politics in this country makes any kind of coalition almost impossible. Not much leadership is being displayed. Zvave kunge zvekungo tukana, nekunyombana, vachingo shorana. (They should stop belittling and insulting each other.)

“They should all take a leaf from how the Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya who conducted his meeting with citizens. He did it with so much dignity.

“He did not talk down to those present and he really listened to what they had to say.

“It was so refreshing to witness such interaction between ‘maChef’ and their constituents. One can’t positively serve or productively engage with people you don’t respect and look down on.”

Comments (3)

politics is a game of numbers. who becomes what after coalition should not be by chance but by popularity. let the rallies continue for they will clarify who has the numbers. constituencies can then be allocated based on the strongest contender in that costituency to avoid vote splitting. those small parties who cannot gather numbers for rallies must simply go back to the parties they came from and boost the vote there. what does it pay to be a political party leader without followers except family members, friends and a few sympathisers. if only two major opposition parties emerge, it becomes relatively easy who subordinates who in a grand coalition. Maopposition politicians kungokara zvavo but ivo vanotoziva kuti ane support yakawanda ndiani watingatungamidza. POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IS NOT NECESSARILY BASED ON LEVEL OF EDUCATION BUT ON CHARISMA TO ATTRACT NUMBERS. Once in power what matters to whoever becomes president is to appoint competent people to help steer the Zimbabwean ship. A leader who surrounds oneself with good advisers is all Zimbabwe needs post grand coalition.

Ndange Ndakanyarara all along - 26 June 2016

its too early to talk of coalition,let them work as individual parties as now to confuse the ruling parties and terror institutes,the world over coalitions are formulated based on two principles one ,who has numbers ,two prerogative preference of the guys putting money into the project.At the stage vane cash yacho vachiri kumbowana kuti who is who in terms of numbers demographic rural and towns.by mid next year all will be clear and easy to fix,we don't exclude those who charm the international community in terms of ever ready to give answers intelligent and factual analysis even though they dnt have numbers in thr ranks ,we know they will help in policy formulation and critical structuring of big investments like zisco,diamond industry,banking policies .will include guys like biti,ncube prof and simba to charm the investors

Preacher - 29 June 2016

PRESIDENT MUGABE GOT 62% OF THE VOTES AND UNLESS REFORMS ARE IMPLEMENTED HE WILL RIG THE NEXT ELECTIONS AND GET ANOTHER 62% OF THE VOTE. SO EVEN IF THE OPPOSITION UNITE THEY WILL ONLY GET 38% AND THUS LOSE.

Patrick Guramatunhu - 6 July 2016

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