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Expert blames opposition disunity for promoting Mnangagwa’s rule; says frustrated foreign embassies forced to work with Zanu PF factions instead

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By Alois Vinga


RENOWNED economist, Dr Godfrey Kanyenze has blamed disunity among the country’s opposition political parties for propping up President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendancy and leaving foreign allies with no option except to support him.

The excerpts captured in the economist’s latest irresistible book titled, “Leaving So Many Behind: The Link between Politics and the Economy” recalls that the country’s opposition movement has sustained traversing a path separating it from its founding social base.

“A major development that signified the separation of the MDC-T from its social base was the decision by the National Constitutional Assembly, which had been part of the vibrant social movement of the late 1990s and played a role in the formation of the MDC, to transform itself into a political party on 28 September 2013.

“Meanwhile, the post-election self-introspection within the main opposition party MDC-T created disunity within the party,” says the book in part.

The manuscript says thereafter, Mangoma advised then MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai to step down and facilitate leadership renewal.

After the contents of the letter had been leaked, Mangoma was not only assaulted by party youths, but was first suspended for causing divisions, and finally expelled from the party.

Dr Godfrey Kanyenze

Then Secretary General of the party, Tendai Biti condemned these developments and expressed his support for the issues raised by Mangoma. The duo were later to be expelled from the party, a development which also weakened the movement.

Kanyenze says unfortunately, even those splinter groups which left MDC-T continued to be fragmented along the way, further weakening the opposition movement .

“By the time the 2018 elections were convened, Zimbabwe Elections Commission (ZEC) confirmed the existence of 75 political parties contesting elections up from 35, a scenario that reflects a fragmented opposition.

“Given the developments in the opposition parties, some western embassies were quite happy to work with the opposing factions in the ruling party.

“The thinking that then-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, working with the opposition and civil society, offered the best prospects for a stable transition out of the economic crisis was propagated by the influential British think-tank, Chatham House in its report entitled; ’The Domestic and External Implications of Zimbabwe’s Economic Reform and Re-engagement Agenda’, released in September 2016,” the book observes.

The book says the argument was that Mnangagwa was already spearheading re-engagement with the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Central Bank Governor John Mangudya following the adoption of the Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution Framework agreed with the IFIs in Lima, Peru in October 2015.

“While the report observed that Mnangagwa was not widely popular and had a difficult legacy associated with Gukurahundi, he however was considered as having strong liberation war credentials, and had forged close links with the military and the War Veterans, who were now at loggerheads with their patron Mugabe,” says the manuscript.

A section of political analysts however still contend that the vice of disunity among the opposition movement, which currently continues to rear its ugly head in wake of forthcoming elections in 2023, is still likely to diminish chances of removing Mnangagwa from power.