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Unity Not more Political Parties will dislodge a Dictator

23 Jun 2020 at 12:31hrs | Views
In the past few days, I read that there was a new political party that was formed in Zimbabwe. The party, led by a 73 year old white guy was touted for its inclusiveness - drawing its leadership from the four corners of the country. This development makes me sad. Zimbabweans and Africans in general must wake up and understand that opposition unity and receptivity of the current regime to change are critical to a successful nonviolent revolution. Let me repeat this: No single individual or group by itself can effect political change in a country currently run by an entrenched dictator.

No matter how despised a despot is, he always has some support base. You don't need to be political scientist to observe cases where despots have "won" elections because the opposition vote was split, I will give a few examples

Kenya: In the December 1997 elections, the opposition parties numbered 26, and they fielded 13 presidential candidates to challenge the incumbent despot, Daniel Arap Moi.

Zambia: In the December 27, 2001, presidential elections, the candidate of the ruling party (MMD), Levy Mwanawasa, won with just 29 percent of the vote. There were 10 opposition candidates.

Ethiopia: In the May 2010 elections, 92 opposition parties challenged the despotic regime of Meles Zenawi.

Belarus: In the December 2010 elections, there were nine opposition candidates.

Zimbabwe: In the July 2018 elections, there were …..

To defeat a tyrant electorally, a coalition of opposition parties must field only one presidential candidate. It takes a united opposition or an alliance of democratic forces to stand any slight chance of dislodging an entrenched dictator. At any moment in time, resistance to despotic rule comes from several sources - political parties, professional groups, student groups, church groups, business groups, trade union workers, and ordinary citizens - both inside and outside the country. The answer is not another political party but uniting these sources. Some advocate democracy, others intellectual freedom, and still others religious freedom - activities must be coordinated. There must be concerted effort, and a clear road map.

The primary focus of all opposition groups should be to remove the despotic regime from power and establish a level political playing field. The despot will never establish a level political or economic playing field. If the despotic regime is drawing up rules for the transition to democracy, all energies must be focused on ensuring that the rules are indeed fair and just and that the political field is level. An independent electoral commission is imperative for a free and fair election, and all energies must be channeled to ensure that the commission is indeed independent.

Source - Sam Wezhira
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