Power-hungry leaders have no space in grand coalition

via Power-hungry leaders have no space in grand coalition – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 9, 2016

Talk of the country’s opposition political parties to coalesce and form a formidable force against President Robert Mugabe’s leadership in the forthcoming 2018 elections is important for all Zimbabweans keen to see change of tack to the Zanu PF governance style that has left people in a circle of poverty for a long time now.

But it is the opposition parties’ thinking that gets us nowhere. It appears the opposition leaders are already angling to position themselves at vantage points for purposes of leading the coalition as if it is given they will win against Mugabe.

It would be foolhardy for former Vice-President Joice Mujuru — who fronts the shadowy People First (PF) project — to consider herself the automatic leader of the grand opposition coalition in the making. Clearly, it would also not make sense for Mujuru, who is yet to register a political party, to immediately want to head for the driving seat in an amalgamation of parties — some of which have been in the trenches fighting Zanu PF’s misrule for years.

It is the parties’ warning to Mujuru that, however, shows a sense of mistrust among the opposition forces yet they all must be driven by a common goal.
Coalitions cannot succeed if people go in to seek lofty positions for themselves and their cronies. There has to be consensus on who leads the coalition.

The fact that Mujuru and her band of faithfuls that come across as disgruntled former Zanu PF members whose only reason for joining the opposition was solely because they had been fired from Zanu PF leaves them in a compromising position.

Mujuru maybe popular, yes, but what is stopping her from establishing herself by launching her political project? It appears that so far Mujuru has existed in the corridors more than on the ground. What of Didymus Mutasa? What of Rugare Gumbo? Will they inspire the confidence of voters seeking to dissociate themselves from everything Zanu PF — a system that this group has been part of for 35 long years?

Although Mujuru may command respect within opposition circles, it takes much more than that to lead a grand coalition of opposition forces. Yet, Gumbo’s utterances point to power-hungry individuals and that does not augur well for the ex-Vice President’s image. On the other hand, Gumbo is clear of what they want, and going into the discussions indeed every party must have their candidate and if Mujuru wins the backing, there is no problem in her taking the leadership of the opposition. What is important is the fact that the decision would have been collective.

Zimbabweans are clear of what they want — many have had their aspirations shattered due to Zanu PF’s misrule and are, therefore, determined to upset the apple cart at the next general election given the ructions in the governing party.

So whether it is Mujuru, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, People’s Democratic Party’s Tendai Biti or anybody else does not matter for as long as the candidate has the wherewithal to stop Mugabe’s misgovernance.

Therefore, the opposition including Mujuru, if she chooses to be identified as such, must be aware that pro-democracy politics demands people with a servant leadership mentality.

No doubt fighting as individual opposition parties will only divide the opposition vote and that could work to Mugabe’s advantage. If these opposition political leaders really have the country at heart as they would have us believe, then they will have to find a way of accommodating and embracing each other for the good of Zimbabwe.


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    Mazano Rewayi 6 years ago

    The opposition leaders should only lead their parties into the coalition. Who leads the coalition should be determined by the people themselves. An all parties congress can easily resolve this. First, all parties sign an MoU agreeing to form the coalition (some may argue this has already been done). Second, party members elect delegates for an All Party Congress, say 20 members per party (roughly 2 per province). Third, parties convene a 2-day Congress and elect by secret ballot, a “Triumvirate” to lead the Coalition and agree on its name and banner. The person with the highest number of votes becomes the Presidential candidate for the coalition with 2nd and 3rd being the deputies (some sort of running mates). Civil society should organize this process and the business community should fund it. Under no circumstances should the allocation of posts be negotiated by the politicians themselves otherwise there will just be bickering and quarreling and at the end of it all there will be no coalition.
    In short we are back to 1979, only we should not allow the politicians to discuss the post Zpf Zimbabwe – it’s not power transfer we are fighting for but an all inclusive democratic society.

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    zunzanyika 6 years ago

    Why are people creating problems for people first. Let people first get going then we can say what needs to be done. Asking Biti to form a coalition with tswangirai, is the same as asking People First to form a coalition with zanupf. They could not work together while in one party, same old.
    People first will go ahead with the process of contesting 2018 with an open mind. What is not going to happen is holding an election before an election. People first have a leader in place any zimbabwean citizen is invited to join either as individuals or as an entity. Simple then go to contest 2018 elections, win or loose that is how it is going to pan out. Simple

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      I agree with both you and Mazano Rewayi. Let PF launch their party and invite the public to support them or not. Once they know their following then they go for this coalition. This has to be an initiative pushed by the people at large. The coalition is for the elections and the way that they choose a leader should not be based on who the parties themselves want at the podium but rather the public at large. Zuzanyika your suggestion is based on a coalition after elections that is a desperate measure where if say MDC has 35% of the vote, Biti has 7% and PF has 20% of the votes they then sit down and have a coalition to make up the 50% to beat Zan PF, which is dangerous because MDC will say by virtue of the votes we should be president and you essentially go into a government in an almost GNU version due to their lack of trust for each other and this situation will not result in an efficient govt because you have three centres of power that people depending on their parties show allegiance to at the expense of the general public. But how do we know that of the three leaders of the parties that Tsvangirai is the most qualified to lead the country. He has no proven record ( being in opposition is not proof) Because of the three personally I feel I would be better off with Mai Mujuru and Biti he at least as Finance minister showed that he was willing to do the hard yards for the economy, yet as a person I acknowledge that to make it over line we need MDC and its support base, not necessarily though so Tsvangirai can lead us. With the other first option you have a guarantee going into the coalition under one leader and one centre of power, you set up a government with set objectives and ground rules that don’t allow other parties to hold other hostage in the face of electoral results and they can set up a government that’s not over staffed because they are trying to cater to ensure that they have the same power. Its easier to do a job if you know that your performance will impact on your future because all these parties will remember the MDC in 2013 and be working to be sole Govt in 2023. Let us not lie to each other here, who ever leads the coalition should be strong personality but be also accepting of critique, an consultative because if your vote in parliament is reliant on other parties then its going to be juggling match for 5 years. I should also add that I would like who ever leads to only one term in power then hand over to next person so that they set an example of the revolving door. tsvangirai does not embody this for me and as a youth, im sure this is why most of us do not bother to vote.

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    Tjingababili 6 years ago


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    chigaramboko 6 years ago

    im here to lead you in the coalition. it seems from the front runners nobody is qualified and fully trusted by the masses to lead.
    If you allow me i can lead the coalition because i dont have any criminal record any tracable politacal part that i pledge my aligents. Im a Zimbabwean and all i need is a better life for all Zimbabweans and equal oppotunities for all

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    Nyoni 6 years ago

    The politicians must realise that people make the country . Politicians simply steer the government they were elected to run. ZanuPF have flaunted this rule and hopefully others that follow will learn from this misrule. One should not forget history and this is what we must never forget. How we were mistreated and abused by a few . This must never happen again. Pasi ne sell outs.

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