Opposition caught flat-footed 

Source: Opposition caught flat-footed – DailyNews Live

Maxwell Sibanda      22 December 2017

HARARE – While the sudden political turn of events in Zanu PF’s factional
fights that saw former President Robert Mugabe finally stepping down after
37 years in power surprised many in the country and those around the
world, I am sure it caught opposition political parties flat-footed.

Over the past years opposition political parties have been demanding the
resignation of Mugabe citing his advanced age and had contemplated
impeaching him although without any success; they had complained bitterly
that Zanu PF’s succession wars were affecting government business, hence
called on the ruling party and in particular Mugabe to appoint a
successor; they also complained about Mugabe’s capture by his wife who was
now literally running the country.

But in a flash it seems all the misplaced cards just seemed to fall into
place on their own as Mugabe was pushed out by the army and forced to
resign while the succession matrix played out on its own with the
elevation of Mnangagwa.

Grace, who was fast positioning herself to the presidency was expelled
from Zanu PF and lost her influential post in the party. With Mugabe gone,
she also lost her position as first lady.

While the opposition had already geared itself to fight it out in the 2018
harmonised elections with Mugabe, 93, and Grace, that narrative has
completely changed.

With Mugabe gone, the opposition has to change tactic as it is now facing
a new Zanu PF presidential candidate and Zimbabwe’s new President,
Emmerson Mnangagwa who is only 75 years old, energetic and very sound.

The stepping in of the army in Zanu PF politics which had seen the party
torn into two factions – G40 and Lacoste – has stopped, albeit for now and
the party we will for sure be fighting in next year’s contest as one.

While the army has stabilised issues within Zanu PF, the opposition is
still fraught with its own factional fights that have even delayed the
real birth of MDC Alliance, a grouping of opposition political parties
that are geared to confront Manangagwa and Zanu PF.

The MDC Alliance itself, while it has managed to bring together political
party leaders together, has seen disgruntlement within its ranks as other
members are not buying the idea of this alliance.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president and MDC Alliance leader has been
unwell for quite sometime now as he frequents neighbouring South Africa
for treatment, and he hasn’t done much, if anything at all in terms of
campaigning for next year’s vote.

But time is running out for the MDC Alliance and next year’s election is
just a stone throw away. The alliance hadn’t really met the people with
their manifesto so as to explain their vision and this they have to carry
out in all provinces.

While Zanu PF had the past year been campaigning heavily through the youth
interface rallies, that effort has gone to nought and the opposition
should count itself lucky because it means now the ruling party’s campaign
will have to start afresh.

The problem I see with the MDC Alliance is that they seem to be relaxed
and would want to seriously start campaigning when Zanu PF commences its
own.

That will be dangerous.

Mnangagwa and Zanu PF will outpace the opposition because they are
financially oiled and they can use State resources so much that their
reach will be wider and quicker.

The opposition and in particular MDC Alliance will need a lot of money to
hit a “hot” campaign like the opposition had in 2000 and 2008 where their
presence was felt everywhere; they had massive budgets for campaign
adverts in both print and electronic media, they had cars to use for
campaigns, they had money to buy party regalia and they had funds to
traverse the country.

Do the opposition parties in Zimbabwe today have that sought of financial
muscle?

And when Mnangagwa tells the world that the elections will be free, fair
and democratic, he should have assessed the opposition’s strength!

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar

    what do you mean mnangagwa is ONLY 75 years old? he is OLD!!!!

    • comment-avatar

      Agreed. Until Museveni moved the goal posts recently (again), he would have had to step down at 75 in Uganda. In China leaders are required to step down from positions of leadership at 69.