via No smoke without fire – The Zimbabwean 24 September 2015 by Tawanda Majoni
As the saying goes, anything is possible in Zimbabwe. Crazy things have happened here in the past that lend credence to the saying.
We continue to be ruled by an old man who is hailed as a revolutionary – yet there is hardly anything in reality to support that. Our president has read the wrong speech at the official opening of Parliament. He has fallen at the airport and some red-eyed hawks have blamed it on the carpet. He and his party have won landslide electoral victories when even mice would run away from them. Now we hear the opposition MDCs are in talks with Zanu (PF)!
The parties involved have dismissed the talk about talks but, as they say, there is no smoke without a fire. I heard about the reported talks well before a local paper broke the news, and I have every reason to believe there is a grain of truth in the report about intra-party talks. But that is where it should end, because the talks are not likely to yield anything.
To fully appreciate this, we must go back to the earlier talks that resulted in the Government of National Unity (GNU) in early 2009. Those talks led to the Thabo Mbeki-brokered Global Political Agreement (GPA) in late 2008, following a debilitating stalemate caused by the violent, one-man June 27 presidential run-off. The talks brought together the very parties that we hear are now seeking to revive another agreement, namely MDC-T, Zanu (PF) and the MDC outfit led by Welshman Ncube.
It is important to note that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) only agreed to the talks because they were in a political crisis and were suffering regional and international ostracisation. The economy was in a sorry state and the cholera outbreak was killing people like flies.
As I have always insisted, if the opposition had not agreed to the talks and had given Zanu (PF) a further six months in government, that party would have collapsed completely.
The problem is that Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube saw the talks as an opportunity to get into power and onto the gravy train. It was never about rescuing the Zimbabwean situation.
On the other hand, Zanu (PF) grabbed the chance to revitalise and re-emerge. That is what happened. The GNU put the opposition in a lull and Zanu (PF) capitalised on this to install a poll rigging machine that proved to be legendary in 2013 when it won a landslide that startled even the winners.
Needless to say, the opposition was taken for a giddy ride. It enjoyed no power under the GNU and was used to sanitise an illegitimate Zanu (PF).
Today, some six years after the establishment of the GNU and two years after the controversial poll victory, Zanu (PF) finds itself in another crisis. The economy just won’t work and is grinding to an exhausted halt. The party is suffering one of its worst crises in post-1980 history as Mugabe gets more senile and the wolves in Zanu (PF) close in for the kill ahead of the 2018 elections.
The ruling party is haunted by a legitimacy crisis and is clueless how to wiggle out of the mud. Naturally, it would want to play back to 2008 and use the opposition to give it another lease of life. The talks, therefore, would not be about rescuing Zimbabwe, but the ruling party.
Does MDC-T in particular not know this? It does. Would it want to go ahead, do the talks and possibly form a transitional government? Highly likely. The main opposition party is in a crisis of its own. Its popularity is at its lowest ebb, what all those splits, kindergarten decisions and continued failure to dislodge Zanu (PF). The GNU was just good as it lasted because it gave Tsvangirai and his lieutenants a false sense of power, security and comfort.
The party is dead scared that it might never take the reins from Zanu (PF) which enjoys the advantage of incumbency and can use all available state resources to ensure that it rules till donkeys grow horns. It may also be suffering the illusion that another transitional arrangement would give it a chance to outfox Mugabe and his party, even though that is clearly futile thinking.
The point is, Zanu (PF) would never want to hobnob with the opposition unless it was convinced that would work purely to its advantage. It doesn’t work the other way round. In this case, a new coalition would only serve to drag us back into history and delay progressive transformation. – To comment on this article, please contact email@example.com