MORE often than not, history has proved that dictatorship thrives and feeds on the naivety and flaws of its victims, who, in most cases, appear drunk from opium, divided and lacking a clear common purpose – a predicament that perpetuates their suffering to the delight of the oppressor.
Not only that, victims are gripped by a sheer sense of resignation, to the extent that religion fills that void in their lives created by deprivation which has its roots in dictatorship, but, surprisingly, they associate their fate with predestination and not the dictator, hence the popularity of prosperity prophets in the impoverished diamond rich Southern African state of Zimbabwe at the height of her crisis and messages of divine intervention which fail to focus on the roots of the problems.
Not to be outdone, those with a clearer grasp of the genesis of their impoverishment are not in any better position, for, besides being divided and fighting from the same corner, few are even aware of what beat them on the 31st of July last year when President Robert Mugabe woke up to be proclaimed the winner of the disputed election. Because there is a failure to understand when the rain began to beat them, they are unaware of how to dry themselves, let alone where to go as they navigate the virgin terrain.
Few players in Zimbabwe’s political drama today clearly grasp the far-reaching implications of Nikuv, not only in domestic politics but across the whole region. The political dynamics in Zimbabwe have been greatly changed since July 2013 – never to be the same again. As such, it is prudent for the opposition to understand and acknowledge this shift in the balance of power and rules of the game and engagement if ever they are to prevail and survive. Unfortunately, few, if any, of these politicians realise this shift as evidenced by their utterances and strategies post-July 2013 in their fight against Mugabe.
Lovemore Madhuku of the NCA is still stuck in the referendum era, for in his view, answers to the country’s crisis lie in the crafting of a perfect constitution. In his usual constitution mantra, the learned professor has no kind words for Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition figures, for, in his mind-set, the July elections were lost when the opposition colluded with Zanu PF in endorsing a flawed constitution that enabled Mugabe to rig the poll.Advertisement
However, on probing Madhuku on why he is of the opinion that a perfect constitution would have prevented Mugabe from rigging the poll as it is the will to abide by it and not the document itself that is paramount, the learned professor is mum except that he has a solution for the country. On the other hand – emerging from his hibernation – Welshman Ncube doesn’t appear to be any wiser on the issue, for, not only does he disagree with others on the prognosis of their loss to Mugabe, but, what to do next to reclaim the lost glory.
The opposition, Ncube believes, should acknowledge defeat to Mugabe in the first place and move on without being trapped by the past. Indeed, in the learned professor’s mindset, it is only a grand coalition of opposition forces that can unseat Mugabe. The strategy is premised on numbers, meaning that the greater the number of fighters in the battlefield, the better their chances of victory. However, only on the condition that Tsvangirai is excluded from this grand coalition. Oh my God! With all his education one wonders why Ncube, if ever he is serious at all, is of the opinion that Tsvangirai is the stumbling block to Mugabe’s overthrow, taking into consideration the fact that the two are all victims.
As if the confusion isn’t bad enough, proponents of the renewal agenda in the MDC advocate for leadership renewal as a panacea in their fight against Mugabe. The strategy is premised on the flawed assumption that Mugabe outmanoeuvred Tsvangirai because the latter’s image has been soiled by his private love affairs as well as poor leadership qualities unlike Mugabe who is elevated to the level of an angel.
On further probing advocates of the agenda on their choice of candidate to succeed the flawed Tsvangirai, they are mum except that an early congress holds the key to the equation. Adding sand to rice, Tendai Biti, touted as the face of the renewal team is on record conceding that Zanu PF’s Bhora Mugedhi pre-election manifesto played a significant part in tilting the balance of power from the opposition to the ruling party, for, in spite of its flaws, it was more appealing to the MDC’s JUICE, thus, indirectly singing the same tune as Ncube who is of the opinion that the opposition’s rigging narrative is overstated, contradicting his earlier stance.
Indeed, Biti isn’t only satisfied with this position, but has gone an extra mile in advocating for a rebranding of the opposition manifesto and vision to encompass liberation ideals, taking a leaf from Zanu PF. In this mind-set, a change in the opposition’s image in the eyes of the electorate is paramount in boosting its power base and appeal, indirectly implying that the former lost the disputed July elections, not only due to rigging by Zanu PF, but due to a soiled image that urgently needs bleaching. Singing from the same hymn book as Ncube, Biti advocates for a grand coalition of opposition forces, churches and the civic society in fighting dictatorship.
Again, not to be outdone, are voices crying from the wilderness calling for a rebranding of Zanu PF into a 21st century party through reforms as the answer for the country’s crisis and Jonathan Moyo is the chief architect of the movement. The drive has witnessed the exposure of massive corruption in state-owned institutions followed by the dissolution of several boards with the aim of starting on a new page.
But unknown to the many blindly celebrating the professor’s charm offensive blindly, none of those initiating the reforms from high above has clean hands themselves, raising questions on the credibility of the futile exercise. How many ministers who are known to be corrupt have been sacked let alone exposed in this exercise?
Jonathan Moyo’s offensive has witnessed the unimaginable becoming reality, as the learned professor extends an olive branch to his former nemesis, the private media culminating in the setting up of a media panel headed by Geoff Nyarota. Naively, the private media welcomes this gesture only to be stunned in a couple of months when the dictator descends on the Daily News culminating in the arrest of its staff on trumped up charges. Since when have leopards started changing their spots?
For, how can Zimbabweans be all that naïve into believing that Jonathan Moyo is a born again when he sits among known murderers? Isn’t it a known fact that uyo anoita hata yeuriri haafaniri kushamisika kana ovaviwa? How can the oppressed be all that naïve to believe that Zanu PF is ready for genuine reforms that advance the interests of the majority when AIPPA and POSA are still in place?
Surely, the best and first media reform to should have been initiated by the learned professor was to do away with these draconian pieces of legislations. In the same way, the much-touted ZimAsset programme with all its flowery projections will never solve the country’s quagmire as Zanu PF will remain the party known for corruption, incompetence and mismanagement and any attempts to rebrand this former revolutionary movement will fail as long as the mindset of those initiating that drive hasn’t change.
That being said, one certain thing – with all these scenarios shaping the country’s present and future political discourse – is that Nikuv has changed the country’s political dynamics and it will never be the same again in the near future. The opposition can’t afford to ignore let alone fail to grasp this shift in power dynamics, for, to do so is catastrophic. The stakes have changed and never before have they been raised to this level and the new challenges require new ideas and strategies.
Madhuku’s constitution mantra, however appealing it might be, is outdated for there is a failure by its advocates to realise the limitations of democratic apparatus in fighting an entrenched dictatorship like Mugabe’s. In the same vain, Ncube and Biti’s clamour for a grand coalition is flawed in that it puts more weight on numbers while ignoring the hidden but powerful hand of Nikuv, ZEC, Mudede and the security sector in the equation.
Again, Tsvangirai and the civic society’s cry for dialogue with Mugabe to resolve the country’s crisis is an effort in futility for it is the equivalent of romancing a stone. For, any dialogue that involves Mugabe will not resolve the country’s crisis as it’s not his priority, but to perpetuate his personal and selfish interests.
What then can be done to free those in chains? There is no simple answer to this question which has been asked before and which many will ask in the future. Zimbabweans should free themselves. Never before has freedom been cheap and it will never be in the future for – like gold, freedom is precious and scarce. Mugabe isn’t answerable to the electorate for they didn’t vote him into office but his allegiance lies with the military and Nikuv. That explains why he doesn’t bother about visiting flood victims in Tokwe-Mukosi for they never voted him into office and is not answerable to them, just like other ministers.
Faced with this dilemma, it is the duty of the oppressed to fight for their liberation rather than waiting for an alarm from Tsvangirai whom Ncube or the renewal team in the MDC feel has betrayed the struggle, for the power to remove Mugabe is in their hands and not in Tsvangirai’s alone. Does anyone know any prominent politician in Ukraine who spearheaded the revolution that swept Victor Yunukovich from office? It is the determination and sacrifice of the oppressed that can remove Mugabe from office and not the ballot box manned by Mudede, Makarau and Nikuv.
Since the infamous July elections, did anyone ever bother to demonstrate at Nikuv offices in protest over the scandal as well as at Mudede’s instead of crying for a grand coalition and Tsvangirai’s ouster? In as much as opposition leaders should play a role in mobilising the masses against dictatorship, the oppressed shouldn’t sit on their hands expecting divine intervention as advocated by prosperity preachers like Makandiwa for that perpetuates their suffering.
A million men march to Mugabe’s residence calling for his resignation is the answer to the crisis and not the Nikuved ballot box. However, the strategy has its own risks for many will lose their lives for no revolution is bloodless. This strategy explains Mugabe’s panic and swiftness in cautioning Munyaradzi Gwisai and Job Sikhala over the slightest mention of a revolution that threatens his grip on power.
Madhuku’s constitution mantra, Ncube and Biti’s grand coalition as well as Tsvangirai’s dialogue initiative are efforts in futility and Zanu PF is prepared even to change the constitution to enable Mugabe from contesting for the highest post from his grave as long as that keeps the former revolution party into office. Those with ears let them hear!!
William Muchayi is a pro-democracy and political analyst who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org