Unity of purpose can save Zimbabwe


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ZIMBABWE – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai this week cut a lone figure as he was flanked by representatives of small parties at the signing of a national electoral reforms agenda after most of the opposition leaders snubbed the event. 

The poor response to the MDC-T-led lobby will definitely dim chances of a formidable coalition against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.

Tsvangirai was left to ink his signature with a dozen little-known opposition parties.

Ironically, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti, a day later, told his party’s general council meeting his party leadership was in “talks” with other opposition parties and could announce a coalition early 2016.

There is no doubt this kind of behaviour by the opposition will give Zanu PF electoral victory on a silver platter.

Zimbabweans can of course defy the doomsayers with largely peaceful polls, but the expectations of many that the process would inject new blood and oust the ruling party from power will be surely dashed.

This can only happen where the opposition have difficulty agreeing on a common vision.

What looked like minor differences have turned out to be great points of contention. Personal quarrels are influencing policy, while vital issues have taken a back seat. Yet, an acceptable alternative to these divisions is necessary.

We believe it may be wise for leaders to stop their bickering, and try to dispel the doubts and suspicions rife among the opposition groups. This is especially true for the MDC-T and Biti’s PDP, as these two have been exchanging all sorts of accusations.

The accusations have festered in closed meetings and secret deliberations.

In the end, Zimbabweans must reach a general agreement, free of contradictions. Everyone should accept the agreement and commit to its text and spirit. The wrangling groups should ethically and spiritually commit to it before they do so politically.

The opposition should organise their relations around a common agreement, as it would coincide with the higher national interest –which should transcend that of any political grouping, whatever its name, location or role.

To allow personal feuds to infect discussion on public interest is a stain on any opposition group, and shows its political and patriotic backwardness. The opposition must be realistic and address this problem in all seriousness.

Despite their legitimate political origins, these disagreements have now become personal. Therefore, to address these personal differences we should look at their political roots.

These political differences are so entrenched that they have come to be seen as a part of the people who hold them.
It has become difficult to differentiate between idiosyncratic and unprejudiced issues.

If the opposition could fix relationships among its leaders, it would be able to emerge from this long predicament.

It is important the opposition does not end up giving Zimbabwe the same disease given to it by the ruling Zanu PF party. This disease forces the national interest through a narrow prism that is only in accordance with special individual interests.

It has potential to turn the country into a mere satellite of the government. It is unable to recognise interests apart from that of those in the corridors of power, most of who personally benefit from this same disease.

Is it not true that the foundations of a new regime must serve the interests of the State and society? The new government must also ensure freedom and human rights to citizens, who should all be equal.

Clearly, if political parties do not formulate policies based on these foundations, then the quarrels of their leaders are self-serving.

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