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Opinion / Columnist

Chamisa is dead! what next?

13 Sep 2018 at 19:49hrs | Views
Opportunistic leaders not only cost lives and resources but also set back the march to freedom by decades. In Zimbabwe and across Africa, democracy has suffered a steady decline in recent years because the opposition (counterforce) has been weak. Incumbents triumph, dominate, and become smug when there is weak resistance.

In addition to fragmentation, disorganization, and persistent squabbling, Zimbabwe's opposition lacks strategy. They are a dead wood. Furthermore - their message of freedom has become contaminated with religion.

What Zimbabweans need now are leaders that have better strategies to deny long serving leaders from becoming more entrenched. We have seen it all! 92 opposition parties in Ethiopia or 128 opposition parties in Zimbabwe did not work. Filling 50,000 people into a national stadium to protest a decision by the country's military dictator, Captain Mossa Dadis Camara in Guinea or feeding people alcohol to fill the streets of Harare did not work.

The opposition movement needs to be reformed. The leadership of MDC xxx is wooden, sclerotic, senile, and out of touch with reality. Zimbabwe is not Kenya and will never be. Why be bogged down with a failed Kenyan strategy of installing a people's president?

If Zimbabweans are serious about the next step politically, economically, and socially, then they need to move past the moribund MDC and support the emerging third force. No one knows the form this third force will take but there is nothing that will stop this force from emerging. It might be another opposition party or some insurgency. Truth is nak*d and cannot be denied - things are bad in Zimbabwe and the current opposition nor the ruling government has the answers to the problems bedeviling the country.

President Mnangagwa is a smart guy - he is not crafting new policy positions at all. He has done his homework, adopted policy positions and is busy implementing his roadmap. There is no need for the opposition to try and torpedo ED's initiatives - the best approach will be to understand his positions fully and capitalize on his weaknesses.

What will work today in Zimbabwe are smart strategies not the stupid fielding of 23 Presidential candidates, or burning energy on inauguration of the so-called people's president. I hope the inevitable emerging third force channel their energies into building an opposition alliance that can win at the polls.  The first step in that march will be to identify eminent persons who are capable of commanding respect from all sectors of the society, have no axes to grind and no political ambition as leaders. These people should be able to reach out to all parties—political leaders, civil society group leaders, the media, the youth, and so forth. Their foremost priority should be to forge an alliance of all democratic forces or opposition parties to ensure focus, as well as to ensure that democratic forces are not working at cross purposes.

No one should scratch their heads for a smart strategy - new strategies/events are very rare in life, what we experience most likely has been experienced somewhere else. For example, political events in Bangladesh, Czechoslovakia, Nicaragua, Poland, and other countries outside Africa have demonstrated eloquently that one person alone seldom succeeds in the battle to remove an entrenched leader; nor does one political group or organization. It takes a coalition of forces, groups, or organizations. This implies that coordination of pro-democracy activities is mandatory. In Nicaragua, a coalition of 14 opposition parties called the National Opposition Union, including ideological mortal enemies (communists and capitalists), succeeded in ousting the Marxist dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in March 1990. The opposition coalition did not field 13 presidential candidates. Sensibly, they put forward only Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. Had they put forward six or even three candidates, Ortega would have won easily since the opposition vote would have been split. No matter how despised a tyrant, he always has some support base. There have been too many cases where sitting Presidents have "won" elections because the opposition vote was split.

To defeat an entrenched leader electorally, a coalition of opposition parties must field only one presidential candidate. If a coalition president is chosen, he or she should be restricted to only one term of office and if an interim president is chosen to oversee the transition process, he should be debarred from running in the coming presidential elections.

Once a coalition of democratic forces has been cobbled together, the second imperative is to lay down the rules of combat. The first rule is to know the enemy - how he operates, his strengths and his weakness. Then devise the strategy | effective counterstrategies and means of defeating the sitting President. Politically there are huge challenges that require sober minds.

Sitting Presidents take over and subvert key state institutions (the electoral commission, civil service, the judiciary, the media, the army, etc.) to serve their interest. Obviously, there is a need to wrest control of at least one or two key state institutions from their grip. Looking at today's opposition - there is zero chance of this happening.

Why am I saying this? it takes an institution to fight a military institution. Furthermore, one does not fight an enemy on the turf on which he is strongest but where he is weakest. A military regime thinks tactically. It sets an objective, identifies obstacles that stand in its way, and sets out to obliterate them methodically. Soldiers are not trained to reason with their enemies; they shoot first and ask questions later. They are poor at governance, as that entails compromise and bargaining with a panoply of competing groups. They are also terrible at economic management, believing that economic growth and efficiency are achieved by barking orders, which is why the economy is the first casualty of military rule.

Anyone with a brain will have identified the ZANU (PF) weaknesses by now. Instead of wasting time fighting them politically, any opposition of worth must fight to improve the economic lot of the general populace of Zimbabwe. They must borrow a leaf from Joshua Nkomo's strategies.

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Source - Sam Wezhira
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
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