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The outcome of the August 16 MDC mass protest foretold

12 Aug 2019 at 15:14hrs | Views
The month of August in Zimbabwe is recognized as the month of heroes.  We celebrate those who fought for our freedom and the institutions which facilitated the liberation process.  2019 heroes day finds Zimbabwe in a difficult economic situation,  a year after the first election without Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe.  August 2019 is a year after Nelson Chamisa and the MDC Alliance promised us fireworks and all forms of liberation after they had lost the election to ED  pfee. The interpretation of where we are as a nation or how we got here depends on one's vantage point and beliefs.  Oksalayo  we are here,  here is a place where bread ranges between $7-$10, 18 hour loadshedding schedules,  fuel is going up again after again and life is generally not easy for Zimbabweans.

Life is hard in the month of heroes. The question then becomes will the 16 August make life better?  To be or not to be on the 16th August?

Why the demo
Nelson Chamisa needs this demo for his political survival and relevance.  Chamisa promised us independence during the campaign season,  thereafter he refused to give up claims to the title and promised us fireworks. While speaking at the MDC Congress Chamisa promised us more fireworks. When Zimbabwe thought Chamisa was ready he asked us to pray and fast.  Soon after praying and fasting he announced the August 16 demo. 

Where we praying to seek permission to demonstrate?

The MDC needs this demo  more than Zimbabwe needs the demo.  The demo  is about power play and demonstrating critical mass. Sadly it is not November 2017, this is not Robert Mugabe and the circumstances have changed. 

MDC needs the demo  to reaffirm it's position,  it's power and to appease a disgruntled support base.  People no longer have faith in the MDC nor in Nelson Chamisa and these are treacherous waters for the survival of the MDC.

The people have a right to demonstrate and that is a right we can never wish away. The people are not happy with the economic hardships and the people do not understand why they are suffering this way,  the people need to vent and let out some steam and maybe a demonstration could help in that regard.  However, in terms of deliverables, the August 16 exercise will not change anything. Emmerson  Mnangagwa  is here till 2023. Legally a demonstration will not remove him from power. 

Emmerson Mnangagwa is not Robert Mugabe. Robert Mugabe had been President for over 30 years,  Robert Mugabe was frail,  tired and giving in to nature. Robert Mugabe did not want any blood spilt in his name or his legacy and these are important factors. Emmerson Mnangagwa will not resign because people marched. 

The demo will be a venting exercise and nothing more. The organisers have not given a list of demands nor have they set out what they hope to achieve. The demo will come and go just like in Venezuela but ED will remain the head of state.  American,  British and all diplomats will still address him as the President.

There is no tangible why hence there cannot be a tangible result from this demo.

The MDC has already lost this battle from a strategic standpoint. Nelson Chamisa needs to bring back the brains and backbone of MDC intelligence the likes of Mike Hogan,  Solomon Chikovero  (Sox),  Charles Mutama and others.  These minds were able to plan and execute demonstrations that yielded tactical results.

Road to progress

The MDC needs to rework it's a strategy for it to be relevant going forward. The MDC controls the urban vote and that is enough to make a huge difference. The Democratic Alliance in South Africa has been focusing on the areas they control and showing the people what they are capable of doing when given power. The MDC has run down Harare and Bulawayo is plotting a rebellion against the MDC. The MDC is in trouble in urban areas.

While Emmerson Mnangagwa has been doing his best administratively the MDC needs to come to the table and show the world that they are the ones who hold the confidence key which is a major missing ingredient to the process. 

The MDC is a stockholder in total control of the urban vote.  This urban vote drives the markets,  this urban vote drives speculation and profiteering and it is from there that the MDC should be demonstrating leadership and out shining Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Unfortunately Cobra's  brand of politics is based on activism which really lacks results for the people. Activism will not work against rice,  bread and cooking oil politics. The people want a party that can help them meet their needs. Activism raises the people's awareness without meeting their needs and in the ballot box what counts is politics of the stomach.

Demonstrating on August 16 is noble but what are you demonstrating for or against?

ZANU  PF has the numbers and if they organise a counter demo  then life will be hard if not embarrassing for the MDC.

Regime change

If anyone is interested in regime change they have to take it to parliament. If Chamisa really wants to be President then parliament is his only option.

Demonstrations will not force ZANU PF or ED out of power,  this is a fact and you can take it to the bank.

A coup against ED will never work. ED is a grandmaster at Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence.  Several coups were attempted on the Robert Mugabe regime and they were all thwarted and countered by Emmerson Mnangagwa. When it comes to intelligence and security operations very few people can outsmart ED. Some will call it bootlicking but this is a fact.

Way forward

The best foot forward at the moment is unity. Unity of purpose. MDC and ZANU PF need to understand that things are not well,  the people are not coping and there is a need for bipartisanship to solve the problems. Dialogue will work if we agree to stop competing and build a nation with functional systems. The political competition takes away sincerity in dialogue or any means of unity. Political contestation breeds mistrust and it will bring us back to where we are. Way forward is for us to understand that we are past election cycle and season,  we need to build a nation that is still playing catch up.

We need to find each other without the bravado or chutzpah of election rhetoric.  We need sincerity,  patriotism and unity. The MDC should be at the forefront of political reforms in order to have the ZIDERA noose removed from our necks. The political reform process helps build the environment that the MDC needs to win elections since they are always complaining of rigging.

The MDC needs to show seriousness from all fronts. Themba  Mliswa is fighting a lone battle in parliament pushing for things that should have been championed by the MDC.

Demonstrate if you must,  but make sure you are safe and make sure you know and understand why you are demonstrating. The sun won't rise from the west because you demonstrated neither will Chamisa wake up as President because of a demo,  it's more complicated than that. As you demonstrate please respect the rights of those who refuse to participate in the demos and respect other people 's property and business. This is the month of heroes, not foolishness.

Fidelis Fengu writes in his personal capacity

Source - Fidelis Fengu
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