Wednesday 20 June 2018


By Patrick Zhuwao
Dear General Mutinhiri. I write to you with the utmost respect and gratitude for the sterling contribution that you have made to the great nation of Zimbabwe from the time you joined the armed liberation struggle and became one of its stalwarts at a tender age to the present day where your resignation from the Army-run ZANU PF on 2nd March 2018 brought into sharp focus the need to reverse the military coup of 15 November 2017 which cast a blemish on our history. My letter to you Sir, seeks to plead with you to withdraw your nomination as a presidential candidate in the 2018 General Election.

My plea is informed by the objective of reversing the coup of 15 November 2017 in the light of a rational and material analysis of the prevailing balance of forces within the Zimbabwean political environment. Conceptually, my plea is guided by a quote from the late Otto van Bismarck’s interview of 11th August 1867 with Friedrich Meyer von Waldeck of the St. Petersburgische Zeitung where Bismarck said: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.”

As you are aware, the NPF Consultation Points Document sought to establish a new political movement to contest the 2018 General Election as a means of reversing the coup. Patriots are eternally grateful that you offered yourself to lead the establishment of the structures of NPF. Patriots will never forget the example and principled stance that you demonstrated when you resigned from both the Army-run ZANU PF and Parliament. Ideally, patriots dreamt of you leading a strong campaign for the Presidency. That would have been the best.

But alas, that dream proved not possible. That wish is not attainable. For any political party’s presidential bid to be credible, it must be supported by a full complement of 60 senatorial candidates, 210 candidates for constituency members of the National Assembly, 60 candidates for the women’s quota members of the National Assembly, 80 candidates for Provincial Council, and 1,958 candidates for local authority councillors. Such a strong representation effectively means there would be someone campaigning in all parts of the country for that party’s presidential candidate.

The results of the nomination courts on 14th June 2018 are not good for the NPF. NPF only managed to field candidates in 95 out of 210 constituencies covering 45% of the country; nominated 20 out of 60 senators to give a third; 15 of the possible 80 provincial councillors making it 18.75%; 14 of the 60 women’s quota to give 23.3%; and 78 out of the 1,958 councillors to make a paltry 3.98%. The

objective reality arising from a realistic and critical analysis of the outcome of the nomination process shows that NPF does not have the ground force to sustain a successful Presidential bid.

As I have engaged with well-wishers and potential donors willing to consider offering resources to the NPF, that reality has been glaringly pointed out. Most people that have sufficient resources to contribute to any campaign are usually gifted with the capacity to conduct dispassionate and objective analyses. Such analyses invariably invite the conclusion that it is futile to contribute to the NPF Presidential campaign.

However, there is a glimmer of hope in that some well-wishers and donors would like to support NPF legislators and councillors. These well-wishers and donors are willing to contribute resources for NPF’s parliamentary and local authority campaign. For these well-wishers to have the comfort that their contributions are channelled to the parliamentary and local authority campaign, they think NPF’s Presidential candidate should withdraw.

This is the lesser of the two reasons why I am pleading with you, General Mutinhiri, to please withdraw from the Presidential election. The second, and more important reason recognises that while you will indeed get some votes, they will not be enough to make an outright winner. There is a possibility that your participation will result in a run-off. General, you and I know that a run-off where one of the contestants is an incumbent who rose through a military coup would be a recipe for disaster that would make 2008 pale into insignificance. We will die like flies this time. DDT will be used again.

Given the above-mentioned scenarios General, I would like to repeat Otto van Bismarck’s words that “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best”. The “next best” for the NPF is to channel all the resources that it can muster towards the parliamentary and local authority campaigns. Your withdrawal from the Presidential Election will free up resources for NPF’s parliamentary and local authority candidates. Sunungurayi vana mukuru (free up these candidates to access resources).

Another reality is that the two main contenders for the Presidency are Chamisa and Mnangagwa. Given this reality, allow me to conclude General by saying that the overall objective of reversing the coup cannot be achieved by denying Chamisa the NPF vote and handing a victory to Mnangagwa on a silver platter. The “next best” way of reversing the coup is to support the candidature of Nelson Chamisa. By supporting Chamisa, it is possible to reverse the coup. That, General, is politics; that is the art of the possible, the attainable; the art of the next best.

Iwe neni tine basa. Umsebenzi loUmkhulu.

Asante Sana.

first appeared in 263chat


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