via Put egos aside, form grand coalition to win – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2016
For the past year or so, speculation was rife that Zimbabwean political parties were on the verge of setting up a grand coalition to fight Zanu PF in the next elections, but there was always a nagging feeling that egos would scupper any such agreement.
MDC-T seemed the most amenable to a coalition, with axed Vice-President Joice Mujuru, raising hopes that arguably the two most popular opposition politicians were going to work together to fight the ruling party and end its hegemonic hold on the country.
But events of the last few weeks are beginning to put paid to hopes of a coalition and instead the parties seem to be further drifting apart.
As they say, a day is a long time in politics, meaning these two years before the elections are literally a lifetime, and so much can change in-between.
However, if opposition parties were sincere about taking on Zanu PF, then the foundation of a coalition should be put in place right now instead of scurrying to unite at the last minute.
Previous coalition attempts have failed because parties leave everything to the last minute or lack sincerity and we feel this is the route they are taking once again and this could only spell tragedy for the opposition.
We cannot overstate the value of coalitions, as history has shown us that if MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, on one hand, and then independent candidate Simba Makoni and the MDC, on the other, had united in 2008, mathematically they would have defeated President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, but egos took over.
The same egomania that prevailed in 2008 seems to be setting in, and the perennial question is: Who will lead the coalition?
Mujuru has already been accused of having a big sister attitude, while Tsvangirai has said he will not defer to her because he has been in the trenches for longer and risked life and limb.
Both attitudes are unhelpful and retrogressive. It is a moot point that Tsvangirai has been fighting Mugabe longer, while Mujuru brings with her the liberation war gravitas.
They both have very strong points, but their weaknesses are all too glaring and instead of focusing on why they will not join each other, more energy should be spent on complementing their strengths instead of magnifying their shortcomings.
None of them has a monopoly to lead the opposition and anyone can be a leader of a coalition. What Zimbabweans are desperate for is unity of purpose, rather than personalities that are willing to embark on a scorched earth policy just to ensure that no one usurps their imaginary roles as de facto leaders of the opposition.
The infighting within Zanu PF has opened a window of opportunity for opposition parties. If they do not take advantage of this, then they will have no one to blame if they are unsuccessful at the next polls.