Coalitions don't thrive on egos

HARARE - Some  time in February, I wrote an opinion piece for this very publication, on political party alliances in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the continent, exploring their potential to win elections.

Already, elections have come and gone and a cursory glance at National Assembly results that have filtered through already, the ruling Zanu PF is poised to have another majority in the August house.

The opposition is obviously counting its losses following another defeat to the former liberation party.

But then, the reasons for this fall lie no further than the parties themselves.

The opposition failed once again to come up with a grand coalition, one that would have been strong enough to dislodge Zanu PF from the power pedestal.

There were moments when Zimbabweans actually felt a grand coalition was about to emerge following the August 2016 launch at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield.

Then the charismatic founding father of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai — who succumbed to cancer of the colon in February this year — was at the forefront of the talks to bring together opposition political parties in the country.

However, all this whittled into naught as personal egos started playing out in the public arena, claiming to be more important than the institutions they purported to be part of.

A number of prospective members of the grand coalition could not come on board because of these egos.

Joice Mujuru, who was former president Robert Mugabe’s deputy for 10 years before being summarily expelled from both party and government on untested allegations of plotting to assassinate and topple the then leader, instead of joining the Alliance that was already in place.

She could not accept having Tsvangirai as leader of the coalition because of her own ambitions.

She wanted to be leader of some political institution, hence her decision to form the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC).

The PRC performed dismally in most constituencies, something that reflects that they did not have the support of the people.

With Elton Mangoma going his own way to form the Coalition of Democrats (Code).

For the leaders of these splinter coalition groups, it must be clear now that pushing to form a small coalition that does not have the numbers may not be helpful after all as compared to getting together to confront the single big enemy, in this case, Zanu PF.

In the run-up to the just-ended elections, there was talk of another alliance that would bring together Mujuru’s PRC, Mangoma’s Code and the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.

Even before Tsvangirai’s demise, Mujuru had rejected coalition talk, showing that clearly, she was not prepared to enter an entente in which she was not a leader.
Mujuru’s — just like most opposition leaders — is a clear manifestation of greed and self-centredness which must never be allowed to prevail.

When such politicians visit the electorate and declare they are doing it for the people, there is need to interrogate these overtures further.
Clearly, theirs are self-aggrandisement projects, which they get into after guarantees of leadership positions.

Alliances that are built on such pretentious foundations are easily penetrated by adversaries and are prone to splits and divisions usually fomented by the love for positions.

History has taught Zimbabweans very tough lessons about opposition political parties and all due respect, the MDC Alliance had lately proved to be the strongest opposition outfit with the potential to defeat Zanu PF.

So many lessons have presented themselves on the pitfalls opposition groupings have always fallen into, including infiltration.

Zanu PF is very good at its game and makes sure it penetrates any fissures that may exist in opposition setups.

Comments (2)

The passing on of Tsvangirai was the demise of opposition politics. If MDC had not split along the Chamisa and Khupe factions they would have posed stern competition to the well oiled Zanu PF machine. Coalitions do not work anywhere else in Africa because our concept of unity and leadership is warped. Someone remarked that the problem with Zimbabweans is that everyone thinks that they are a leader. And the gift of garb is only going to take you so far (with millions of broken hearts!!). Our concept of "WINNING" & "DEFEAT" must also get a major overhaul. The NATION of Zimbabwe is far bigger than any individual or political party. Future generations deserve better. Let us have more tolerance, patience, forgiveness, hope and peace as we rebuild our country. God bless the new leadership, President and the nation of Zimbabwe.

Daniel 5 - 2 August 2018

A very cynical article. The charlatans are now coming out again, The electons were rigged. EVERYBODY knows that. You are in denial, my friend. Chamisa, and the MDC Alliance, won these elections.

Simba - 4 August 2018

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