Dr Patson Dzamara
ZANU PF’s leadership constitutes of a mafia made up of arrogant and thieving elite who view the national purse as their private property. Their leadership failure is beyond human comprehension, recently Mugabe declared and admitted that the ruling party could not account for diamonds worth 15 billion dollars. Meanwhile those who engage in corrupt activities are not punished.
Police brutality and repression is the order of the day in Zimbabwe. For standing up and speaking against ZANU PF’s failure, my brother, Itai Dzamara was abducted and it’s over 17 months now, with no efforts to account for him.
The unemployment rate is over 90 percent. Zimbabwe’s position on the corruption index in the last 10 years has persistently worsened becoming the worst country on the corruption index. Approximately 5 million people in Zimbabwe need food aid. Over 3 million Zimbabweans are in the diaspora chiefly because they ran away. Zimbabwe’s Industrial utilisation capacity is 15% (1950 levels) due to draconian policies of the government. We even import tooth picks.
It therefore stands to reason that, if Zimbabwe is to be redeemed from the pit of failure then ZANU PF must be decapitated. A long overdue process of elimination by substitution must be invoked.
ZANU PF has maintained it’s grip on power through using unorthodox and unconstitutional means such as vote buying and victimising opposition activists. However and inspite of that, it is my humble view that the opposition movement has aided ZANU PF’s prolonged stay in power well past it’s sell by date.
While the mainstay of our focus is consumed in trying to disband ZANU PF we have fallen into the trap of neglecting an equally important enclave – the opposition. The role of the opposition in the quest towards Zimbabwe’s rebirth can never be underestimated.
ZANU PF must be replaced, no doubt, but what is the alternative?
Let me nullify a fallacy before we go any further. I am not under any illusion whatsoever that Mugabe and his ZANU PF are the zenith of leadership efficacy and proficiency. In fact they are on the other side of the coin. Their leadership trajectory has a bold inscription called failure on it. I believe that Mugabe and his ZANU PF are not the Alpha and Omega of leadership. There are so many Zimbabweans who are capable of running this country. Their failure to emerge is not only the work of ZANU PF but the work of the opposition too.
At the same time I am very much alive to the role the opposition movement has played since the formation of a formidable opposition movement in the late 90’s. I am cognizant of the battles they have fought and the sacrifices they have made. I am really grateful, many Zimbabweans are.
I appeared at Rotten Row Magistrates Court on the 10th of October. While we were chatting with some colleagues in front of the court building, a man I have deep regard for appeared -Tendai Biti. He has certainly inscribed an indelible mark on the sand of the political terrain in Zimbabwe. He is a former MDC Secretary General and a former Minister of Finance. Currently he is the President of PDP.
As expected a conversation juxtaposing the political movements to the citizens movement ensued. There were about 7 people but the conversation was predominantly between Biti and myself. I pretty much asked several questions before I could make my point too.
Those who know Biti will agree with me that he is a sage. I enjoy cross-pollinating with him. Unsurprisingly, the mainstay of his responses to my questions had everything to do with what ZANU PF has done, is doing and can do to contribute towards the quagmire we find ourselves in. That prompted me to make a bold statement which I wish to reiterate here.
For as long as the mainstay of our focus remains on the wavelength of what ZANU PF has done, is doing and can do without juxtaposing that to the opposition landscape, we may never welcome a new and better Zimbabwe in our lifetime. Without factoring in the role and place of the opposition movement in the scheme of things in so far as the the extrapolated transition is concerned, then we may actually have to forget about the transition.
A panoramic view of the opposition movement
1. There are about 50 registered opposition political parties.
It’s ridiculous and alarming that a small country like Zimbabwe has over 50 registered opposition political parties. All those and many other unregistered parties are targeting Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF. That alone is a red flag.
2. It’s an ego contest.
Sadly, what we witness in the opposition movement is an unexciting ego contest. Opposition leaders find themselves trapped in meaningless low seat issues in order to satiate their evidently impoverished egos. Their self concepts and egos are highly indexed and often detracts from the commonality of purpose.
Even though their enemy is purportedly just but one, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF, surprisingly, it seems hard for them to speak with one voice. The opposition movement is infested with discord. Inspite of supposedly serving a common purpose catapulted by a common enemy there is no coherence whatsoever in their voice.
4. Struggle within the struggle.
Zanu PF certainly has factions and internal problems but it has somehow managed to find a formula of remaining agglutinated against the odds. The opposition has dismally failed in that regard. They behave as those two men who wish to find a lost coin and begin to fight over who would take it even before they have found and secured the lost coin. It’s a struggle within the struggle.
5. None of the 50 plus parties will outrightly win an election.
Everything being constant, given the current dynamics, unless if something drastic happens, none of the current opposition parties will win outrightly in an election against ZANU PF. Like it or not, ZANU PF has a deeply entrenched structure and system and that’s the mainstay of its power. For it to dismantle, it will take more than a fragmented and confused opposition movement.
I ascribe to the notion that Zimbabwe’s problems are political and as such the solutions are political.
There has been suggestions from different sections of the society that the citizens or social movement of Zimbabwe comprising of #ThisFlag #Tajamuka #Occupy and others must morph into a political vehicle. I am reluctant to buy into that option chiefly because most of the citizens movement protagonists, of whom I am a part, do not possess institutional political wisdom and experience.
Further, Zimbabweans should embrace the ability to represent their concerns as citizens holding the government to account even beyond the Zanu Pf era therefore to see this outfit wholly turn into a political movement may be something of a loss to the people of Zimbabwe.
Not only that, I am sure at this juncture we don’t need more political parties in Zimbabwe. We have more than enough. Infact, most of those useless parties must collapse. With that in mind, a cross pollination between the citizens movement and the opposition movement is critical.
We can never realise any meaningful solutions without paying thorough attention to the various political dimensions presented in our case.
The first multi faceted dimension has everything to do with ZANU PF. The second and equally important multi faceted dimension has everything to do with the opposition movement.
Our problems must not only be viewed from the standpoint of ZANU PF’s contribution alone but the role of the opposition movement too. If we confine our processes and demands to ZANU PF alone then we miss some very critical curves we ought to negotiate. I posit that most of our attention must now shift towards the opposition movement. It must be sanitised for the sake of progress.
After all is said and done there can only be one conclusion. If the opposition movement fails to regroup and do what is practical they would have betrayed the struggle and history will judge them harshly. I make a humble demand that we must have only one opposition movement.
(Dr. Patson Dzamara is a pro-democracy activist based in Zimbabwe)