I have been closely following the coalition talks among opposition parties in Zimbabwe and I must say I am thoroughly disappointed. It appears as if opposition politics in this country is as fragmented (if not worse) as it was during the 2nd Chimurenga when Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU operating from Zambia was at loggerheads with Mugabe’s ZANU operating from Mozambique.
Drawing parallels between these time-blocks is understandable if one subscribes to the verified notion that ‘the past is a valid indicator of the present and the future.’ Allow me to cut to the chase; Tsvangirai is comparable to Mugabe in this regard. Mugabe at the time led an army of about 8 000 troops while Nkomo led a 2 000-strong army. Despite this undisputable fact Nkomo was the more popular of the two hence being affectionately know as ‘the Father of Zimbabwe’. Nkomo was so popular among the black Rhodesians that if the 1979-1980 election campaign had been held under strict democratic principles he would have walloped Mugabe in the elections or at least he would have put up a nail-biting fight. What eludes the memories of Zimbabweans is that ZANU won that election through violence and terror which was consistent with their approach of the liberation war. Stories are abundant of how ZANU soldiers abducted highschoolers from St Augustine’s Mission, Old Mutare Mission, Mutambara Mission schools to name a few of the missionary-run boarding schools along the eastern boarder of then-Rhodesia. On the other hand proscription into ZAPU was in most parts voluntary. ZANU has never been run contrary to these principles and Mugabe has never known any other way of attaining and retaining power.
No one can dispute the fact that Tsvangirai is the most popular leader in opposition politics as it currently stands. Again Zimbabweans have been blinded by popularity of an individual without weighing the facts of the said individual’s competence. Tsvangirai may be the most popular opposition politician but the facts dictate that the man is incompetent and vacillating in his policies. His stance on the current coalition negotiations betrays this fact. He seems to be looking down on other opposition politicians through the myopic scope of popularity without due consideration of competence and other such pragmatic factors essential to the resuscitation of a failed state. There are currently 53 registered parties in Zimbabwe and I think looking into the competence (rather than popularity) of a leader needs to be at least considered before endorsing any coalition leader. It is so unfortunate that Tsvangirai has chosen the high road and has forgotten that the clutches of democracy reach much farther than popularity. The Trump vs Clinton battle is an excellent example.
More to follow……