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Will the opposition coalition upset Zanu PF?

03 Sep 2017 at 14:46hrs | Views
ZANU PF has been in power for the past thirty seven years. It has been winning the elections with very little challenge. It was only in 2008 that it lost by non losing margin. Its foundation was shaken but it came out of that shock more stronger than it was. For the past two decades, the phenomenon of the opposition coalition has gained growing traction and interest across Africa. This year the opposition is peddling the coalition idea all over. Maiden ceremonies of coalition has been held and before the ink dries the coalition is shaken to the ground by greed and selfishness. Some countries have tried coalitions but for Zimbabwe the situation was best explained by the president of Zimbabwe who described the coalition as "the multiplication of Zeros".

Some countries have done coalitions and it worked. In 2000, a group of opposition parties in Senegal joined forces as the Sopi (or "Change") alliance. Together, they defeated the incumbent president and ended 40 years of one-party dominance. In 2002, Kenya's opposition repeated the trick. In the 1992 and 1997 elections, losing parties had cumulatively gained over 60% of the vote. But this time around, they grouped together as the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). This united opposition swept to power, removing the party that had governed Kenya since 1963. Since then, pre-electoral coalitions have changed governments again in Senegal, as well as in Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria and The Gambia. This trick will fail in Zimbabwe for a number of reasons. ZANU PF is routed in people and it is a party with tried and tested ideologies. It has shown and came out to be a people oriented party

MDC when it was united it failed to unsit ZANU PF. SO IT divided its vote and obviously failed dismally. In their inexperience and in moments of madness MDC T donated a number of seats to ZANU PF. It shows that the opposition hated each other to an extend of donating parliamentary seats to ZANU PF. In their time of madness the opposition split their own little vote. So now in the farce of a coalition they are simply mobilising the usual votes. Opposition coalition is just like turning Six upside down and call it 9. When roll call comes it remains six. There is no advantage in calling yourself united with yourself and claim that you are stronger.

The opposition is simply being itself and has dome nothing to upset the incumbent. The coalition is no threat to ZANU PF at all. It is a non event this coalition and only saves to split the opposition vote. A host of other opposition parties have also provisionally joined, including: Welshman Ncube's MDC, Dumiso Dabengwa's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), Simba Makoni's Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), Tendai Biti's People's Democratic Party (PDP), and Elton Mangoma's Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ). These have been in MDC T before and failed to win. The coalitin therefore is the unity of nothings toothless fogs which are no threat to ZANU PF ans will remain shaken and time wasting. Instead of fighting on the same side they fighting each other. Coalition is an exposure of its own weakness.

This would be a broad and impressive total failure of a coalition, bringing together many well-known faces and politicians who have no electoral support outside of traditional opposition strongholds. But for every successful opposition alliance Africa has seen, there have been several more that have crumbled after early optimism or fallen flat at the ballot box. Coalitions in Zimbabwe have fragmented and collapsed. Instead of fighting together the opposition spend most of their coalition time fighting each other. They dont fight from the same corner thereby causing no threat to ZAMU PF.

One crucial indicator of whether an opposition coalition will succeed is how polarised the political landscape is. This can determine the degree to which parties are able to join forces coherently and without undermining their own reputation and principles. In Zimbabwe's case the opposition spent time trying to resciciutate the dead leaders. Or trying to spruce up names of the little known leaders of small parties. They use the coalition for their selfish ends destroying themselves in the process.

According to political scientist Nicolas Van de Walle, opposition coalitions only work when they appear capable of winning and thus prompt members of the ruling party to defect. These defectors not only bolster the ranks of the opposition, but can bring supporters with them and sway undecided voters. But this is a dream as ZANU PF has stable suppprt which is not swayed by any coalition.

Ahead of Nigeria's 2015 elections, for example, the All Progressives Congress was significantly strengthened by mass defections from the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). Similarly, in Zambia in 2016, dozens of defectors from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) drastically improved the electoral fortunes of the United Party for National Development (UPND). But in Zimbabwe ZANU PF has taught its people well and it is so comfortable in the people. The problem in having Mai Mujuru in the coalition To begin with, it can be difficult to encourage members of the ruling party to cross the aisle. And when they do, it can be tough to persuade opposition supporters to vote for someone who was, until recently, part of the government. She was the VP and she has pride. That goes for Tsvangi he has his own failing pride. The strategy used by opposition is a very tired song. All they say is personal attack on Mugabe. That does not feed them. But unlike the FDC in Uganda, the MDC-T seems to be - at least in principle - less averse to allying with the long-standing government insider, Joice Mujuru. Nevertheless, the fundamental irreconcilability between the images of the MDC-T and ZANU-PF brings a certain riskiness to this decision. What does it say about the vociferous opposition party that it now says it is prepared to stand alongside a former ZANU-PF stalwart and vice-president? How will its supporters react?

In Zimbabwe, however, there are added complications arising from the fact that the hostile political climate also stretches to relations between some opposition parties. The MDC-T, for example, has used polarising rhetoric not just to condemn the ruling party, but also to criticise the opposition groups that emerged from a split in 2005. Tsvangirai's faction branded this MDC breakaway as "sell outs" and "traitors". Tsvangirai has nothing to offer. Nothing is promising the masses.

This rhetoric made attempts at a rapprochement in 2008 and 2013 more difficult. It will also make joining forces trickier ahead of 2018, especially given that many opposition groups have splintered even further since then. The PDP, for example, is the result another split in the MDC-T from when Tendai Biti walked out in 2014. And the ZRD is the result of fissure in the PDP.

It can be difficult to build stable and effective structures when so many bridges have been burned.

The decision of who should be the figurehead is least contentious when there are recent and reliable indicators of party strength, such as the results of parliamentary by-elections. With this data, it is more straightforward to work out which candidate has the most recognition and support. MDC has no prospects of Winning the series of splits and a three-year electoral boycott make it difficult forbMDC TO WIN. EITHER way the MDC and it coalition have no chance of winn agains. zanu

Vazet2000[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

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Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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