When opposition becomes meaningless

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AN event that brings fame and renown happened this last week, the sort that makes people stop and look in admiration. I do not speak of course about the Zambian elections: not being Zambian, my interest in their elections starts and ends with the news that once again, when President Robert Mugabe entered another African stadium, he received a hero’s welcome, just as happened when he attended Mandela’s funeral. Not that you will read about that welcome in any so-called ’independent’ media: no, they will tell you about a ‘massive anti-Mugabe’ demo (by 5 or 6 people, in fact) outside some hotel where the President was not even staying.
I speak about the fact that President Mugabe assumed the Chairmanship of the African Union. This is not just an honour on the President and Zimbabwe, but a poignant moment given the energy that has been expended by many within the opposition as well as their supporters abroad to paint the President as illegitimately elected and our country as a pariah.
Comb through writings by some MDC ‘activists’ and their reporting on the event and all you see are vitriolic attacks on the President’s age, his posture, and the alleged ‘preposterousness’ of the AU choosing him as the new Chairman. So-called ‘helpful’ lists of Presidents from around the world and their ages are given, purporting to show that the President is the oldest head of state around.
You can understand the sour grapes when people contest an election and lose, then seek to manufacture reasons why someone should not lead. Yet the irony of it all is so plain for all to see: if you trusted the voters’ judgement enough to take part in an election, surely you must trust their judgement when they decided that the other guy was better than you?
The people of Zimbabwe are literate enough to know how old the President is, and they are not so stupid as to have forgotten the old cultural and factual truth that with age comes wisdom, and that nowhere in our culture and constitution is there an age beyond which a person cannot lead. Our constitution recognises and respects the contribution that can be made to a democracy by a well-meaning opposition. This is why there are laws that provide for the funding of all political parties that pass a certain threshold in the elections. But when opposition is offered for the sake of opposition, it becomes meaningless.Advertisement

You do not stand against the interests of your own country just because the people that have seen something honourable in your country do not happen to share your point of view. Only recently, the MDC was quick to run to foreign bodies to try and argue that our elections had not been run in a free and fair manner. Having failed to provide even a scintilla of evidence to substantiate these lies, the MDC now harps on about an electronic voters roll, as if they, all of a sudden, cannot read manual documents. Are the people at the MDC so sophisticated that they cannot read paper records, and prefer only to use computers? If Zanu PF can fight an election based on a voters roll in paper form, why can’t they? And if all parties have the same type of voters roll, how is that not a level playing field?
It is a sign of a party devoid of policy that it deploys its chief speakers to comment on the angle of the President’s posture and his age and not the content of his speech as the reason why he cannot lead the AU. It is a sign of policy bankruptcy that when by-elections are called in Chirumanzu and Mt Darwin, the MDC deploys their President to campaign in Hopley Farm! And when they lose the elections, they will cry about rigging, about electronic voters rolls, and about the President’s age and his posture. Never about their own misguided focus.  I mean, honestly people, do you want Zanu PF to go around campaigning for you a little? There is a song, sung by away supporters at English Premier League matches, which says:
Your support,
Your support is full of s**t,
Shall we sing,
Shall we sing a song for you?
How true! I think a little of that song might help our friends from Harvest House.
The bible talks about a day when the Babylonian empire was crumbling down, and a hand came from heaven and wrote a message on the wall. One of the phrases written down was ‘your actions have been weighed in the scales and been found wanting’. Such should be a trite message for the MDC. Their lack of vision and repeated focus on attacking the person of the President was weighed in the scales by the voters on July 31, 2013 and found wanting. Their allegations of vote rigging and Nikuv mutating ballots were weighed in the scales by SADC and the AU and found wanting. Their lack of policy and vision was weighed in the scale by Biti and Mangoma and found wanting.
Come 2018, their perpetual whining and lack of coherence will be weighed on the scales and found wanting. The MDC goes around claiming to have the urban vote in the bag. But with sanctions gone and the economy looking up, urban voters will start to get the Zanu PF message and begin to see that a party that spends its government funded energy (through the political parties finance law) on attacking the President’s age and posture, a party that campaigns at Hopley Farm for an election in Dotito and Chirumanzu, does not, perhaps stand for their interests. That, perhaps, a vote for the opposition is as meaningless as the effort that said opposition puts into justifying it. One hopes that when that happens, we will not hear about vote rigging or electronic voters rolls.
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, Zanu PF-UK