via ‘Zanu PF is dead meat’ – DailyNews Live Tendai Kamhungira • 7 December 2015
HARARE – As Zimbabwe hurtles towards the 2018 national elections amid growing political and economic turmoil in the country, opposition parties say they are confident they will take Zanu PF to the cleaners, particularly if they come together in a grand coalition to end President Robert Mugabe’s long rule.
Speaking in interviews with the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, they said they had learnt a hard lesson in the 2008 polls when the fractured opposition allowed Mugabe and Zanu PF the chance to hold on to power “by hook and crook and through the skin of their teeth”.
Spokesperson for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, Obert Gutu, noted that while his party had always lost elections controversially to Zanu PF since 2000, “a properly structured and well-organised coalition will take Zanu PF to the cleaners in the next elections”.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate that a weak, fragmented and under-funded political opposition has got a snowball’s chance in hell of taking over power from Zanu PF in 2018,” he said, expressing confidence that a genuine coalition would bring desired results.
“Coalitions should always be value and issue-based rather than just having coalitions of convenience. Coalitions of convenience are just like a forced or shot gun marriage. They will not last,” he added.
Gutu pointed to the example of opposition political parties in countries such as Kenya where different political outfits had successfully-combined their forces and risen to power.
“Look at the Jubilee coalition in Kenya and just see how it is working very hard to turn around the Kenyan economy, albeit amidst serious challenges of corruption.
“A few years ago, it was virtually unthinkable that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto could work together as president and vice president respectively. Let’s not lose hope and instead focus on the job at hand. The darkest always comes just before dawn,” he said.
Gutu also said notwithstanding the uneven political playing field still obtaining in the country, opposition parties were doing their best to reach out to, and motivate the demoralised electorate to remain interested in national affairs.
“The MDC is the largest and most popular political party in Zimbabwe. Against all odds, we have managed to create structures in all the 1958 wards in Zimbabwe.
“No other political party, including the ruling Zanu PF, has got strong and solid structures such as those of the MDC. Zanu PF heavily relies on State machinery to mobilise people.
“They also abuse and misuse State resources. In reality, Zanu PF is just a shell with very few, if any, functional political structures,” Gutu said.
Chipping in, the Dumiso Dabengwa-led Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) also said a coalition of opposition parties would unseat Mugabe and Zanu PF.
“United we stand and divided we fall. As Zapu, we have always called for a united front so as to fight the present government of Zanu PF. We feel as a united front, we have the capacity to fight Zanu PF more than when we are acting as individual political parties.
“As Zapu, we have always called for like-minded democratic forces to come together and fight Zanu PF,” Zapu spokesperson Mnjobisa Noko told the Daily News on Sunday, adding that the only problem arose when parties negotiated in bad faith.
He said his party was working towards this goal and also mobilising the electorate ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.
“For your own information, Zapu is going towards a congress where we are going to choose a new leadership team and there is also a lot of mobilisation for 2018 and beyond,” he said.
South Africa-based political analyst, Taurai Mabhachi, said an opposition coalition was necessary in Zimbabwe.
“Organised political formations pushing a genuinely people-driven cause can triumph over Zanu PF which has failed to deliver bread and butter issues to the people of Zimbabwe,” Mabhachi said, also citing the Kenya scenario.
“The fatal mistake of 2008 that saw Morgan Tsvangirai scoring an official 48 percent … was disquieting, especially when taken against the backdrop of Simba Makoni’s eight percent,” he added.
However, he said, for such coalitions to work in Zimbabwe, there was need for opposition parties to fight for the necessary electoral and institutional reforms to guarantee free, fair and legitimate electoral processes.
“The ills associated with the Zimbabwean electoral processes include electoral fraud, manipulation of the public media by Zanu PF, promotion of patronage to woo votes, inflating and deflating of votes, and electoral violence spearheaded primarily by Zanu PF functionaries to cow voters into submission,” Mabhachi said.