Proposed grand coalition and the politics of exclusion

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OVER the past few weeks the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube and an outfit led by Tendai Biti have been talking glowingly about their “Grand” Coalition. Some of their officials have even described it as a “grand coalition of democrats”. The following questions have to be answered: First, is this coalition indeed grand? Second, is it indeed a coalition of democrats? Third, is it capable of prosecuting the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe?
Zimbabweans are reeling under the weight of an oppressive regime and a debilitating economic situation. They need to be delivered from poverty and misery and must once again lead normal lives. The regime that has condemned them to this poverty, misery and oppression has maintained its hegemony through a combination of brute force, fraud and subterfuge.
What is needed in Zimbabwe is change. For the efficacy of this change, Zimbabwe needs a strong change agent capable of delivering that change. It is submitted that the so-called Grand Coalition will suffer a still birth. Its Achilles’ heel is that it is an elitist project which seeks to exclude the masses. It is inextricably grounded in politically unhelpful intellectualism.
The other problem is that it seeks to exclude the biggest political players on the land currently, which are Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. There can be no dispute that Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC have an undisputed mass appeal among the workers, the middle class, the unemployed and the peasants in Zimbabwe. Thus, excluding Tsvangirai and the MDC is excluding the real representatives of the down trodden and oppressed masses of Zimbabwe. A coalition that excludes the down trodden and oppressed masses in Zimbabwe can never be called grand.
From their boisterous statements, which are turning to be just hot air, the Coalition will be made up of small political parties, churches and civil society. Strangely, the majority of civil society has professed ignorance of this project as they have not been involved in it. Further, most churches have also not been consulted over this project. Maybe, the organisers presumed that once they announce the date and venue of grand coalition meeting the churches will come flocking to the venue. Such presumptuousness betrays the arrogance and vanity of the organisers of this ill-fated event.Advertisement

What Zimbabweans appear worried about is that in the mind of the organisers of this event they want to convert civil society and churches into a political party. First, no meaningful civil society organisation will want to throw away its impartiality and independence by dabbling into partisan politics. No church will throw away its independence and be seen as an appendage of a political party whose future, although not known, looks decidedly bleak.
However converting civil society into a political party is actually a process designed to exterminate the very civil society they purport to integrate. This is amply demonstrated by what Lovemore Madhuku did to the NCA. At the stroke of foolishness, he reduced a once vibrant and successful civil society organisation into a Lilliputian political party with virtually no following. However the democratic revolution that we are in thrives in an environment where there is a vibrant and independent civil society. Therefore the conceptualisation of this coalition is not well grounded in sound political philosophy and history.
Bad drivers of good cars spell disaster, always. None of the drivers of the so-called grand coalition has any sound democratic credentials. Most of them have presided over grave injustices in their political parties. Their common trait is their disdain and contempt of the masses. They are elitist and proud with most of them thinking that no wisdom can come from people who are not lawyers. They are well known for manipulating the constitutions of their parties to give themselves more power and to undermine elected leadership of the parties.
Some of them had to import leaders to their splinter groups only to depose those leaders at the earliest opportunity. Once they became leaders of the little political fiefdoms, they became some of the most trigger happy political party presidents on the land. One of them had to dismiss the majority of his elected Members of Parliament. Recently some of these political gladiators sought to remove an elected president and elected leaders who did not agree with their project in an unsuccessful palace coup. The long and short of it is that this is not a coalition of democrats but a coalition of budding, scheming and manipulative dictators who have no clout or ability to prosecute the democratic struggle.
The main motivation behind this coalition is to hoodwink the donor community into releasing funds into this elitist enterprise on the basis that this outfit will advance the cause of democracy in Zimbabwe. It is clear that the so-called grand coalition is a clear example of deceptive, elitist politics of exclusion. The planners seek to disqualify people who will win elections to lead the coalition ahead of them. In other words they seek to be stars in the absence of the sun. Clearly therefore, there is no future in this Grand Coalition which is basically a Grand Deception.