MDC-T learnt and forgot nothing from past elections

Source: MDC-T learnt and forgot nothing from past elections – The Zimbabwe Independent April 29, 2016

RECENT remarks from senior MDC-T officials, including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, to the effect that the party had decided against forming a coalition with other opposition parties ahead of the 2018 general elections are an indication that the former premier and his lieutenants have learnt nothing and forgot nothing from previous polls.

Candid Comment,Owen Gagare

While Tsvangirai and his colleagues have a right to determine their political future and destiny, there can be no doubt that such an isolationist and unilateral approach against a background of renewed discussions about forming a coalition are counterproductive.

Granted, Tsvangirai commands huge grassroots support, but there are many other factors that apply in elections, particularly in an authoritarian environment like Zimbabwe.

The 2008 scenario remains a key indicator of how important coalitions can be. Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni came onto the scene without a party, structures or meaningful financial support, but managed to get 8% of the presidential vote, which denied Tsvangirai outright victory.

In terms of official results, Tsvangirai garnered 47,9 % against President Robert Mugabe’s 43,2%, whereas constitutionally the winner should have got 50% plus one vote. Had there been an opposition coalition, Tsvangirai could have easily won the polls. The fact that even if Tsvangirai had managed 50% of the vote he would still have fallen short because of a single person’s vote, shows the importance of every vote, while simultaneously highlighting the naivety of refusing to work with “small parties”.

However, even numbers alone are not enough in an environment like Zimbabwe where strategy is key.

The opposition needs a winning strategy that ensures supporters register, go to vote and that the votes are protected from systematic manipulation, fraud and rigging. Strategies are also needed to deal with aspects such as intimidation, coercion and violence. There is also need to deal with disenfranchisement of voters as happened in 2013, and crucially also, confronting institutional barriers such as the heavily-militarised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

These challenges imply the need for reforms and the MDC-T alone cannot ensure there are comprehensive electoral reforms.

In addition, a coalition featuring Tsvangirai, Joice Mujuru and other players would re-energise sluggish opposition politics and bring renewed hope to the citizens of the country who are desperate for change.

The statements from MDC-T are therefore music to Zanu PF’s ears, particularly at a time the party is dreading the political impact of a coalition featuring Tsvangirai and Mujuru.

In any case, it has been shown in post-colonial African states that former liberation movements are best dislodged through coalitions, especially those featuring former ruling party officials. MDC-T should look at the Kenyan-style coalition which brought ex-president Mwai Kibaki to power in 2002, as an example.

If MDC-T goes it alone and fails to win, the biggest losers will be the long-suffering Zimbabwean voters who have stood with the party through thick and thin.


  • comment-avatar

    Fact is Morgan & MDC-T learnt a lot and forgot very little, if any, from their previous experiences – especially in the context of marriages of convenience. All of us still remember how the so-called GNU served no other purpose except resuscitating Mugabe & his zanu pf, who were then lying still & breathless in the ICU, where their chances of come out alive were as good as zero. Now they are still in happily power and the looting continues unabated – all thanks to the GNU.

    To the contrary, author of this article learnt and forgot nothing from such past events. Author seems to believe best is for Tsvangi to keep on engaging in similar political concubinal alliances. Point is, many of us don’t agree with such opportunistic notion. Any political marriage should based on shared vision not individual haste to assume office.

    Oil & water will never mix & then work as either water or oil – no. Didymus, Joice etc are totally different from what MDC-T stands for. May be they can work with Biti & Ncube who seem to be by and large appendages of zanu pf.

    Why Tsvangi, anyway & not Joice, Tendayi, Simba, Welshmen team up and win as a team/coalition?

    Siyanayi ne MDC_T tinoita zvatinoda zvatinoziva kuti zvakatinakira in the long term.

    If ever there was any common vision how come most of those follower-less/supporter-less parties emerged well after MDC_T and a number of them offshoots of the same, not simply join MDC_T or remain as party of original MDC?

    Point is, their fundamental differences that can not be wished away. That’s simple reality we have to accept. In any case zanu pf has always lost elections in terms of real votes in the past 2 decades but have gone on to rig and steal the elections. Surely, how are the so called coalitions going to stop zanu pf from stealing elections, which they can not do as individual parties?

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      Chitinha 6 years ago

      Clear and precise. I agree with you that the election results that have taken place in the last two decades are not a reflection of the will of the people . There has been massive rigging. A problem defined is half solved. My question to you bro is ,what do you have in your plans to address the massive rigging by zanupf? Mdc has majority support it’s known , but you guys gets into elections even if you know there playing field is not even. SA thru Lindiwe Zulu tried to make u see the light , but you decided otherwise. Wake up guys.

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    Sabhuku 6 years ago

    Tsvangirai is right. Democracy is a game of numbers. It’s the smaller parties that should be encouraged to form coalitions against MDC*T and ZANU PF.

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    Ngoto Zimbwa 6 years ago

    Again, bang on the money there, Mapingu.

    The MDC learnt a bitter lesson in the GNU, where they gave ZANU a breathing space and lent it some semblance of a governing party. At the same time they got infested by ZANU fleas, which are very hard to rid oneself of. Why would they want further infestation?

    Going it alone is the only way. Mujuru, Mutasa, Gumbo…, these are not ZANU rejects really but ZANU part2. They will never change and everyday we hear stories of more and more joining them from the mother party. Food for thought.

    The author belongs to the group who pushed for a GNU in the name of national salvation then criticized the MDC for going in there in the first place, when things turned sour.
    What a hypocrite.
    If ZANU manages to get in again in ’18, so be it. They will have a crumbling economy, a hungry,jobless and restive nation and there is no way they will be able to ride that tiger.
    In other words, they will be the Smith regime part 2, with the MDC poised to pick up the pieces.

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      Dr Prof Sir Baba and Pastor Sox 6 years ago

      People, the reality is elections in this country have always been rigged, even after supposedly getting 76% of the votes.
      If the electoral system has not changed, what makes them think their participation this time will yield anything different?
      I thought all along the agreed position was no participation till the levelling of the playing field.
      These MDC-T guys are just a hopeless bunch of jokes.
      I can already picture the post 2018 press conference, ” Once again the will of the people has been subverted, we were rigged”, and they will go on whining and complaining another 2 years and next up they’re gearing for 2023.
      My point is, can all opposition work together collectively to either overturn the electoral system or ensure it rigs in their favour; otherwise let them stop wasting people’s time giving them false hope. Lets face reality,rigging reality

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    dougy 6 years ago

    i also agree that mdc should go alone,joining with these othe emerging small political parties will be a terrible mistake.kkkkk