'MDC Alliance should defend zones of victory'

HARARE - MDC Alliance leader and losing presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa should accept the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) ruling as he has a lot of work ahead of him which includes his party running urban councils, social and political analysts contend.

They said the youthful leader has to keep his momentum going and quickly turn the MDC Alliance into a fully-fledged democratic party.

The Daily News on Sunday caught up with several commentators who are of the opinion that Chamisa did exceptionally well and even surpassed the late Morgan Tsvangirai in particular constituencies that MDC had never scored high.

Political analyst Piers Pigou said notwithstanding the unsavoury manner in which Chamisa ascended to head the MDC formation, he faces several tests.

“Among them ensuring his election in the forthcoming MDC extraordinary congress to be held late this year or in 2019; securing the MDC name and assets in its unresolved battle with (Thokozani) Khupe; getting her and her small support base back into the fold would be an act of statesmanship and further demonstration of political reconciliation.

“Tsvangirai buried the hatchet with both Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti. Maintaining the integrity of the Alliance is important and building on its remarkable success.

“Five months ago this movement was dismissed by many. It proved naysayers were out of touch by almost doubling the opposition vote secured by Tsvangirai in 2013. But a huge amount must be done to build the party’s structure, resources and capacity.

“This includes addressing some of the negative aspects that percolate in spoke corners of the movement and most importantly keeping its new support base in the loop and engaged,” said Pigou.

He added that pushing the service delivery portfolio at local government would be a pertinent focus.

“It must also work on a strategy for 2023 elections that can contain the blatant distortions and manipulations, political and institutional, that have characterised this election.

“Some have predicted the MDC Alliance will now fragment under the weight of venal personality politics. Consolidation of the party or Alliance and the adoption of innovative progressive strategy to navigate opportunities will be a major test for Chamisa,” said Pigou.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said it depends with how Chamisa reacts to the loss.

“He may definitely need to look at some of his advisors and advice he might not have taken from some. He needs to quickly call for a party congress, have a party name and structure now while the masses still support and sympathise with him as a voter rigging victim.

“He needs to move with the speed he used to wrest power from Thokozani Khupe when Morgan Tsvangirai’s body was still in South Africa and call a congress and establish party structures.

“The more he waits the more he loses to those around him who did not wholeheartedly endorse some of his decisions around manner of wresting of power, Mugabe’s kiss of death and even going to capture courts and the street protests or August 1.

“Unless he is better organised or is accommodated into government by Mnangagwa, his political torch will soon, slowly but surely wane,” said Saungweme.

Crisis Coalition spokesperson Tabani Moyo said depending on the strategy towards building a strong party at structural and ideological thrust, Chamisa has age and vibrancy on his side.

“This, however, requires that he calibrate the Alliance into a party. My take is that the congress ahead will be an Alliance congress turning into a party and uniting with alliance leaders.

“If this is managed well and come up with a competitive urban councils strategy and building party structures. In addition, they must rethink political mobilisation strategy to keep the fickle national voter interested in politics.

“Above all basing on the MPOI survey on the eve of elections, he rejuvenated the national polity and that capital will fall or stick depending on how he marshals through the murky waters post the judgment,” said Moyo.

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said this was obviously a choreographed result both from the election and the court which clearly worked to Chamisa’s disadvantage and that of the people.

“Chamisa should dig in about the illegitimacy of this regime which is clear for all to see. He must continue mobilising for change.

“For this to happen he needs to consolidate his position in the party and defend zones of victory such as the urban councils which must fight against interference and deliver. The councils must work hard to prove the opposition party’s competence.

“One of the biggest battles in parliament will be about implementing rather than subverting the constitution. All these will need popular mobilisation.

“But first and foremost the illegitimacy of Mnangagwa’s victory is palpable and must be resisted and made clear to everyone. Both the election and court proceedings were a sham,” said Gwede.

Journalist Stanley Kwenda said: “First, I want say without any reason of doubt in my mind there is no amount of ‘factual evidence’ that can shift a compromised institution from taking a partisan position. Therefore, blaming each other will not take anyone forward.

“There are three things that our political future is staring at: one, Mnangagwa fulfilling the promises he made but having to live with the spectre of questionable legitimacy.

“Chamisa has to move on and attempt to forge a unity in all opposition parties, because by elections are an unpleasant fact. He can even sneak his way into the Senate.
“Third, Zimbabweans have to accept the court verdict and get on with their lives hoping that one day their electoral expectations will be realised. Life is much more than politics.”

Playwright Cont Mhlanga said Chamisa now needs to close this election episode on a positive note and focus on building himself as a solid leader for the next election.

“He must start by admitting that his party performed well at the just-ended elections given all the odds against them and that they did not do well to present their grievances to the Con-Court.

“He should congratulate Mnangagwa and his party and all Zimbabweans for conducting themselves peacefully in this past election. He should then turn to building his party for the next election. They have a lot to do within the party.

“To Chamisa, you fought a brave fight, lead by example and show that you are the new generation of politics.

“Congratulations to all those that took part in the just-ended elections. You are all winners because you contributed to making our democratic processes move a step towards maturity,” said Mhlanga.

The controversial playwright said as a nation we need to take little interest in succession and opposition politics and take high interest on government accountability and service delivery to the public.

“The period of political transition from (Robert)Mugabe to the next president is now effectively over. Let’s allow the politics of that period to remain in the past and involve ourselves with the politics of the present era starting with government accountability, rule of law and service delivery till the next election.

“Zec, the new Parliament and government must not go to sleep but star early on improving our electoral processes as recommended by all election observers.”

Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhini said a strong opposition to the new administration is essential to holding those in authority accountable.

“A strong voice in Parliament will hold the Executive accountable. Over the next five years the excesses of the state can be restrained through an active civil society and vibrant opposition.

“Democracy can only be strengthened through the existence of multiple voices offering alternatives. Zimbabwe opposition remains not only relevant but crucial,” said Chiminhi.

He said while the decision of the Constitutional Court is final, it doesn’t, however, mean that elections are over.

“The drama played out in court exposed the inadequacies of Zimbabwe elections. There is now no doubt that reforms are necessary and inevitable. Every finishing line is the start of a new race. “Immediately, all stakeholders must begin to reflect on the election process and identify priorities for reform. The legal framework for elections has to be revamped.

“A totally new Electoral Act may be a good starting point to deal with issues of alignment with the Constitution once and for all. The administration of elections also needs a through clean up. The manner in which elections were conducted leaves a lot to be desired. Transparency and accountability can never be compromised if our elections are to be credible.

“Regardless of the court judgment, Zec has a lot of reflecting that they have to do. Going forward it cannot be business as usual. Our politics must also reform. Institutions must be strengthened to discharge their duties in a constitutional manner.”

Comments (4)

When you listen to some of our experts, you really wonder if we watched the same court proceedings. I hope Zimbabweans are were wise enough to see for themselves instead of relying on experts. The tragedy of our nation is that our politics is so poisonious and extremist to the extent that there is no voice of reason that exists...

The Beautiful ones are not yet born - 27 August 2018

Its very important that the MDC becomes more organised. There were a lot of dropped balls in this election and the fact is that whatever fraud was committed against MDC, they actually aided it because of poor planning. There is a need for more strategic thinkers to involved in leadership of the party and the influence of the youth, in particular the Hwendes etc... need to managed and their influence reduced. There should be better calibre of youth leaders in the MDC whose voices are drowned by the combative and abrasive approach. Secondly the combative, oppose all things approach is not necessarily always the best and betrays a lack of leadership. Shingi Munyeza put it well, "...vehondo havavake...". We need to see the statesman, the nation builder in Chamisa. You have more weapons at your disposal in this mode. Demos are not the answer.

The Beautiful ones are not yet born - 27 August 2018

The most powerful thing that Chamisa can do is to bring the MDC together again. It would be a masterstroke if he can bring Khupe back into the fold and allow for a free, fair and credible congress.

The Beautiful ones are not yet born - 27 August 2018

Good advice to this little politician

PATRICK MARUFU SIBANDA - 27 August 2018

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