Single opposition coalition impossible

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition political party leaders must breakdown the Zanu PF mould of conceiving power which is centralised in the presidency as this makes the post very much coveted, social and political analysts’ content.

The comments arise from the bickering and jostling among opposition political parties on who should lead the mooted grand coalition.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC believes its leader is the natural leader of the coalition while Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party believes the former vice president of Zimbabwe has the might to lead the coalition. There are others like Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti who lead separate political outfits as well as Nkosana Moyo and like Tsvangirai and Mujuru have ambitions to lead the coalition as well although their chances are slim.

The Daily News sought comments from a number of analysts on the proposed grand coalition of opposition political parties.

Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said: “With an even playfield and free and fair elections chances are high for MDC (Tsvangirai) to win without a coalition. So they actually don't need a coalition to win.

“But given lack of reforms and uneven playfield the MDC or a coalition of opposition parties will be rigged out and still lose. So it’s tomfoolery for opposition parties to squabble over spoils they will not get. Focus should be coalescing to create needed political crisis and advocacy for reforms. Once reforms are there go to an election.”

Saungweme added that a coalition will be required to protect the people's vote in case Zanu PF intends to manipulate results. “Current calls by opposition for coalition and power sharing are premature. It's sad and a political tragedy. They are disagreeing not on strategy to dislodge Zanu PF but for power which they do have. It's a charade.”

Former broadcaster and peace activist Jestina Mukoko said: “The coalition in my view might not see the light of day. What I see is that there is too much at stack for the individuals meant to be in the coalition and all of them do not want to play second fiddle to the other.

“The leader of the MDC (Tsvangirai) still hopes to make it as Zimbabwe’s president and therefore cannot allow anyone else to lead.

“Former vice president Mujuru has a point to prove to some people on the other side that she is popular while Nkosana Moyo might want to prove that he is amadoda sibili.

“Unless these individual interests find convergence I am doubtful a strong coalition will be born.”

Academic and political analyst MacDonald Lewanika said: “It was always going to be hard to have a single coalition given the disparate nature of the opposition, and the absence of an agreed to formula for choosing the leader of a coalition.

“I think that a ‘grand opposition coalition’ may be slowly eluding us, but in its place two or three compact coalitions are likely to emerge, which while disappointing for some will be a joy to others who felt that a single coalition would railroad citizens into false choices.

“At the end of the day, the failure of a united coalition bodes well for efforts to mobilise the vote as disparate parties and unions will have to work extra hard to get their potential voters to register and turn out — which is not a bad thing.”

Human rights lawyer and researcher Dewa Mavhinga said: “If there is a broad, democratic, and decentralised conceptualisation of executive power then it is very easy to have a coalition where the leaders share power.

“For instance, nothing can stop the opposition from committing to amending the Zimbabwe Constitution once they are in power to have a GNU-type of government with prime minister and president and powers shared and not concentrated in one person.

“To unlock coalition talks, there is need to think outside the box of political power.”

Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said: “I understand and agree with the MDC line because they have the biggest social base and Tsvangirai is the most popular politician in this country with the grassroots. So it doesn't make sense to have a Mujuru or even Biti to lead a coalition when the most voter friendly politician is Morgan.

“Biti, Nkosana, Welshman must understand that the goal of a coalition is to win an election not to see who is the most clever amongst them. Their brains will be utilised in government when they win.

“We need politicians who are seeking servant leadership not positions. It's foolish as it condescending for Nkosana’s people to assume that he would fly into Harare from Joburg Mutambara style and lead a coalition of people who have grassroots support. Nobody knows Nkosana outside of the elite chattering classes. That’s my view.”

Political and social analyst Farai Maguwu said: “As I have said before, the grand coalition scheme is a CIO ploy to keep the opposition pre-occupied with fighting for positions until the election.

“But practically I don’t see any justification why a party that has no elected representatives in council or Parliament can claim legitimacy to lead the coalition. Politics is a game of numbers and this is demonstrated through winning elections be it council or parliamentary.”

Human rights activist Vivid Gwede said: “The coalition seems to be caught up in a thorny struggle for power, which is very surprising and needless.

“Some partners are obviously having unrealistic ambitions. But if everyone sobered up and followed behind the biggest opposition party we would not be having this debate.

“There is a proven opposition party with MPs, senators, mayors and councillors, yet smaller parties think they can also put forward a presidential candidate. That is not realistic. This is where they are losing focus.”

Political activist Tabani Moyo said: “As I have said before, the pre-occupation with the so-called coalition has become an albatross on opposition politics’ neck.

“The opposition parties’ structures are in shambles and lack the ability to formidably organise and lead a government in waiting.

“That should be the agenda of opposition politics, to build internal capacity for sustained strength to deal with the ruling party and offering a competitive alternative policy framework. Sadly the opposition parties are already “fighting” for power which they don’t have while the ruling party is on the verge of claiming victory on the opposition’s watch.

“They have removed the eyes from the ball as they are pre-occupied with defining who is the big brother of opposition politics and further entrenching the culture of entitlement,” said Moyo.

He added though that if they focus on strengthening the party structures, “leadership of a united front would be a default settlement on the basis of the party with the strongest structures and oiled enough to lead, while remaining humble to absorb criticism.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu said: “The coalition is suffering a still birth because of the unbridled ambitions of some of the political party leaders.

“The fact remains that the most popular of the coalition leaders must be the flag bearer and in the absence of a coalition it is only fair that the opposition parties enter the race as individual parties and spend more time mobilising rather than holding onto a shaky alliance.”

Commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said: “I think it’s too late now to haggle over coalition leadership. It’s too divisive.

“My advice is that all opposition leaders should rally behind Tsvangirai, because this is the only chance we have of not only removing Mugabe but also of giving Tsvangirai his last go at Mugabe. If he fails, then those that were against his coalition leadership will be vindicated, but for now, let’s focus on building the 2018 coalition leader brand.”

Comments (5)

Only to disprove Saungwe's false claim-therez no evidence on the gr that Tsvangirai can win n free&fair election.He doesn't hv n appeal in most rural areas where the bulk of our electorate resides& is facing a declining urban vote bec of his leadership weaknesses& undemocratic tendencies-he obviously needs others. It has bn proved that all elections past in this country were FAIR but not free; condemned only as not free but were endorsed as fair,by SADC,AFRICAN UNION,and the UNO observer missions.BABANGIDA former Nigerian president once released this report on behalf of the african union observer mission,& went to say of the violence, most come fr the ruling zanu pf party&followed by that of the MDC but endorsed elections fair & refused to endorse them as free &thisz what we all know as correct& true despite n denials.So Tsvangirai can undoubtly not win in n fair elections as evidenced by all our past elections& I wonder if he can win even if these elections turn free-he only appeals to a segment of urban voters most of whom are becoming tired& might surrender

addmore gudo - 10 July 2017

Only to quote somebody out there who said& I QUOTE "Itz laughable for Tsvangirai to see long bank ques & foolishly assume they will transilate into votes".While itz true that Tsvangirai might get votes fr the bank long ques;itz also true that itz not the common sentiment thru out the whole country,many are worried by Tsvangirai's stance on land reform& black empowerment which dirrectly benefit the poor.My conclusion is that he is likely to b voted in, only by the minority business community, non voting diasporians&, some few&confused urbanities (who might want jobs) who want a free environment in which to invest& to make much profits & subducate the poor .But unfortunately the poor sentimentalism is at odds with him which is struggling for empowerment.BUT THE MAIN POINT IS: IT REMAINS TO B SEEN AS TO WHO MIGHT CHOOSE EMPOWERMENT & WHO MIGHT CHOOSE JOBS &some subducation

addmore gudo - 10 July 2017

Hopewell u are the only analyst so far who has a strong &true view.Keep on telling Biti,Mujuru &friends that they can't fight reality&win.They must swallow their pride&follow Tsvangirai as their leader,,that is the only way

Matsotsi - 11 July 2017

Gudo (pardon the pan), I salute u for your subtle effort to influence reader opinion against the most influential opposition leader. But alas, its in vain, because all of us know that Morgan is the one centre of opposition power! U know that too that's why u r making such desperate efforts to discredit him. All these splinter groups hv no choice but to get under the banner of the MDC, for them to c the light of day. Other opp parties nid the MDC and not vice versa. Does every right thinking zimbo think Mujuru has anything new to offer except to spite her old Master. If she had a real and committed desire to bring change in Zim she shld hv broken away from ZANU and not wait to be kicked out and then try a rapid rise thru an MDC designed and built rocket to the summit of our country, that is bleeding from four decades of ZANU pf perpetrated theft, rape and murder! Know yo people oh zimbos!! Rally behind Save, and the people will follow u.

Mhepoyenzara - 11 July 2017

Mhepoyenzara is living in the past;2018 will prove it.Tsvangirai must fall into line-no sacred cows.PEOPLE can change mind n day, its not guaranted for you& your friend Tsvangirai.You will b surprised.Thisz not the hour of die hard elements,but of emerging progressives& vibrant enlightened youths

addmore gudo - 14 July 2017

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