Zimbabwe’s Political Opposition Is Dying…

Death is not an instant process as most of us would want to describe it but it is a long and winding process that involves, failing health, attempts to regain health, loss of faith, gasping for breath and eventually death. Death is most painful when the person dying was the bearer of hope for so many people for instance a breadwinner.

When someone is sick, the first thing that we do is to go into a frantic race to try and find the cure, after that fails, we wait for the doctors to look for the cure for us. When that fails we then put our hope in God and hope for the best and when that fails people start talking about life after the person is gone. Such a trajectory to the loss of hope and ultimate death is the trajectory that most opposition parties in Africa follow. You start with everyone having faith that you will be ok, then most people lose hope and only the immediate family remains hopeful then the family loses hope and only you remain hopeful and finally you start to lose hope in you being well and that’s the time that death creeps in.

When MDC was born, it was a worker’s party driven to fight against the exploitation and oppression of the poor masses in the country. It rose as a response to the dwindling democratic space in the country. The likes of Morgan Tsvangirayi, Job Sikhala, Learnmore Jogwe amongst others were champions of justice and equality. The times that they broke into the political space to become the biggest opposition was undoubtedly the worst time for such a movement.

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There were imprisoned, brutalized, threatened and some even killed but they did not budge on their agenda to expand the democratic space of this country. It was very difficult to operate as an opposition party as there was possibly what we would term a media blackout. Unlike now, news did not travel as fast as it does now; there was no whatsapp or cameras to record brutality of the state. The civil society was also small and somewhat premature to be able to put the necessary pressure to the state so that it lessens its hard handedness.

Nevertheless, the leaders did not tire nor move from their position to the extent that their impact was overwhelming if compared to the time that they started operating. MDC was so powerful to the extent that they influenced the failure of the constitutional amendment referendum in 2001. The party is also alleged to have won the 2008 elections which later culminated in the government of national unity. Mugabe’s regime felt the pressure and heat from the MDC from as far as the times of the DRC war, to the times of the ZCTU demonstrations, to the times of land expropriation, moving to the times of the final push and even to the times that his centre could not hold it was the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirayi that gave him sleepless nights.

The major reason why the MDC survived all these episodes was because its power was in its masses. Because of its trade union nature it had a continuous flow of members from the workers union and student unions. Their language and nature was that of radical reform which resonated with what the people of Zimbabwe wanted. The nature of its leadership was also outstanding as they could stand openly and speak audibly against unjust laws and a brutal system. When they called for demonstrations, there were always on the forefront to take the first beating. It is because of this nature that the party commanded fearless, loyal and dedicated membership.

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Interesting fact to note is that of the evolving nature of the party after the death of Morgan Tsvangirayi. The party has suffered several bruises from its internal brawls to the extent that they nearly went into the 2018 harmonized elections disorganised. As if that is not enough, the leadership has been very careless in their speech such that the party now looks like a big medieval circus. During the time that Zanu Pf is at its weakest and the people are suffering, they are busy playing office politics and are absent amongst their people. The biggest constituency of the party which are the workers are the most suffering people in the country and we can’t blame them for feeling betrayed by the party.

 

The excuse that they are strangling the economy in what they term “Kudira Jecha” is not doing them any better because at the moment poor people are suffering. Children are not going to school, people are dying in hospital and the general populace is wallowing in poverty. It has turned to become genocide than it is a political move.

Gone are the days of active political participation of the leaders in the streets now the concentrate on courts and press conferences. Their approach has become elitist and diplomatic and they have become too smart for street politics. How can a leader sit at a press conference whilst the people are being beaten left right and centre in the streets?

Slowly but surely the party is losing relevance and its power as it is unknowingly abandoning its constituency. During the time of election, Chamisa was capable of commanding thousands into the streets, beginning of this year a few thousands, a few months a few hundred and very soon it will be in few groups of tens. It’s very easy to lose relevance in politics once you distance yourself from your constituency.

See also  Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa changes party name

With MDC, it was the international community that first lost hope and the donor funders lost hope, now it is the members that are now losing hope and very soon it will be the population of Zimbabwe losing  hope and faith in the biggest opposition in the country and that will  be a lethal tragedy.

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