Coalition leadership not about popularity only

HARARE – As Zimbabwe slowly but surely inches towards the 2018 national elections, an all-too-familiar picture is emerging: it’s President Robert Mugabe versus Morgan Tsvangirai again.

This has been the story of Zimbabwe elections since 1999 when the popular MDC leader swapped his trade unionism jacket for the wretched politics of this country.

Mugabe, believing that there is no one else in Zanu PF who can do the better job than himself, has been a permanent feature on the ballot paper — winning the elections anyhow.

Next year’s elections are so important for every Zimbabwean.

Firstly, they will mark the last time that Mugabe will be contesting, as the clauses of the new Constitution written in 2013, kick in.

Secondly, for the first time, since the emergence of Tsvangirai and the MDC we are likely to see the opposition contesting as a single bloc in the form of a grand coalition in a move that has raised prospects of  a complete Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF  annihilation.

Lastly, the 2018 elections, irrespective of who wins them, are likely to determine which direction Zimbabwe will take especially after the stability-inducing government of national unity had given us a sneak peek into what life could be when all things are normal.

The all-too familiar talk of it’s Tsvangirai versus Mugabe must be interrogated looking at whether Zimbabwe, going forward is best served by these “popular” politicians.

In the here and now, we have a Mugabe who wants to contest another election at 93 despite having presided over the collapse of the country’s economy, but still claiming he is popular.

And now, in all this talk about the grand coalition, there are growing calls by partisan sections of the civic society, student movements and opposition, for Tsvangirai to lead the mooted electoral alliance in 2018, against Mugabe.

Again the argument is that he is popular and has the backing of the majority of suffering Zimbabweans.


But what the MDC and Tsvangirai need to understand is that it’s not popularity alone that is needed to steer this country forward.

And more importantly, they should look at how they have failed to beat Mugabe and Zanu PF outright in previous elections despite being the party of “choice” at the polling stations.

This I am saying because of the hysteria and not-so-flattering remarks that both Tsvangirai and his cohorts have directed at former Cabinet minister Nkosana Moyo since he announced his presidential bid for the 2018 national elections.

Moyo has been accused of trying to split votes and in some cases as being a Zanu PF project.

This is not what democrats do and certainly not what a party that is harbouring ambition to rule behaves.

Instead, Tsvangirai, the MDC and that partisan section of the civic society should be pushing to have a solid coalition that must justify reason why people should vote for it next year.

The fact that Tsvangirai and the MDC believe in a coalition means they realise that they need outsiders who can strengthen them by bringing skills and expertise not resident in the party.

So, the coalition is not about just popularity but putting together people who can clearly spell out alternative policies to Zanu PF.

One would have hoped that by now the ordinary people know some of the faces who are likely to be in this coalition — well ahead of the election — not the current gamesmanship where even political lightweights are being used to spite others in a bid to stake claim to leadership of the coalition.

Any football team that is serious about mounting a strong championship challenge needs to have balance but talent within its ranks.

That should be the same with the coalition.

There is nothing wrong with Moyo throwing his name into the ring unless his entrance confirms that he’s perhaps the best candidate to lead the coalition.

It should be the more the merrier rather than trying to smear people who are also fighting for a better Zimbabwe.

The opposition need to stop worrying about who leads the coalition and concentrate on identifying the right people and worry about leadership later.

Elections are not lost on election day but in crucial moments like these.

So far what the opposition has done is not enough to inspire confidence in those seeking an alternative to Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Instead, there is more quarrelling and confusion.

In the meantime, Mugabe, in what is turning to be a dry run for the crucial 2018 vote, is mobilising through the youth interface rallies.

His team already knows what it needs in terms of numbers.

It would be foolish to dismiss the crowds at these rallies as bussed and forced because they are sending a clear message that as frail and as aged as Mugabe is, come 2018 they will vote for him!

Haven’t we walked this route before?

Comments (6)

That's not true,coalition is all about enough support,,if not why it's being formed. It's all about putting all the votes together &avoid splitting. Popularity is very important at this stage were enough votes are needed in order to defeat mugabe

Matsotsi - 8 July 2017

At best author (Munyuki) is simply not saying anything. S/he is simply enjoys writing without listening whether what s/he writes makes senses all. At worst s/he is just one of those zanu pf idiots. Fact is, any free & fair election is about numbers of eligible voters, nothing more nothing less. Everyone, even Robert, knows both MDC_T & Tsvangi have the numbers - no doubt. It's also known Tsvangi & MDC_T have, twice, been denied victory by the overly zanunized state institutions & machinery. Having said that, it is also true that no one among the zanu pf rejects (Joice, Didymus,etc) have proven capable of adding any value to the tried & tested democratic struggle. They have all openly said they were mere by-standers in zanu pf who don't know what was happening even as they were placeholders on seemingly very powerful positions. Simply put, the zanu pf rejects were concentrating in stealing during their time in govnt & never cared about the goings-on under theirs noses. As such, they know nothing about Gukurahundi and even the more recent massacres, or any other zanu pf shenanigans such as election rigging by the zanu pf gvnt eve though they held very senior positions then. Now you want to tell us of any value such idiots are going to add onto our democratic struggle. What a fallacy? My take is: you join them, win & govern the country if you can. In any case the MDC_T, unlike zanu pf , does not own a single soldier who will threaten not to salute anyone who wins elections. So, plse give MDC_T space & concentrate on building your own parties. nxaaaaaa!

mapingu - 8 July 2017

Itz even wrong to assume that Tsvangirai is popular;he is not-the only reason why he loses elections all the time-Tsvangira has only the support of those who can make our economy cry whenever they choose to do it-the behind the scenes business community-hence they gave some semblace of cooperation during the inclusive gvt period-I want to warn all Tsvangirai fans that people hv eyes-they see-they have clear brains they reason-thisz not at all abt Tsvangirai's abilities,but only bec thoze who hav the power to distroy our economy are solidly behind him.But thisz not to condone Mugabe's policies,but that n clever enough leader must use pro-people policies-the only reason why Tsvangirai is continuously being rejected by the electorate.He is only forcing himself on the people.Many emerging vibrant leaders won elections even conditions Tsvangirai is claiming are not even.Tsvangirai is not popular,the majority who seem to support him only want to remove Mugabe

addmore gudo - 10 July 2017

..Many emerging vibrant leaders hav won elections even in conditions Tsvangirai is claiming are not even,including Fradreck Chiluba of ZAMBIA

addmore gudo - 10 July 2017

Noone is forced to support MDC-T and Tsvangirai, if you don't like them there are 39 other parties to join or go join the murderers in Zanu PF. Some of us like the openness of MDC-T, no blackmail, no hondo nonsense, no kumanikidzwa, you come (or leave) voluntarily. etc. We never said we are perfect.

Sagitarr - 10 July 2017

Simple. Let those vibrant popular new leaders who know that Tsvangirai is no popular have their coalition and leave the "bad" unpopular Tsvangirai to go it alone.

Chigunduru - 10 July 2017

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