It's time the opposition competed on ideas

It's time the opposition competed on ideas
Published: 10 September 2019 (178 Views)
A cursory perusal of last week's mainstream and online media publications painted a gloomy picture of the opposition's compound. In one online media story, the MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa is reported to have threatened law enforcement agents with armed confrontation in response to the latter's enforcement of police prohibition orders issued in view of the that party's chequered protests record.

While these feeble threats are not anything that would see Zimbabwe's law enforcement agents losing sleep over, it is quite disconcerting that the country is cursed with an opposition which has no meaningful ideas at all. Modern and progressive opposition parties the world over compete with their ruling counterparts on the basis of ideas that move their countries forward and improve the lives of their countries' citizens.
They do not resort to illegally acquired and unlicensed firearms to fight constitutionally-elected governments. Even the American politicians, who the MDC idolise to the extent of worshiping the ground where its local representative, Brian Nichols walks on, wouldnot sink so low.

The MDC, despite claiming to be paragons of political virtue and champions of democracy, seem to be itching for a fight with Government as an excuse to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF from power.
 Chamisa's threats of armed confrontation should not be viewed in isolation of his party's recent machinations. In June, the MDC youth assembly leader, Obey Sithole threatened to remove President Mnangagwa and replace him with Chamisa.

The following month MDC vice national chairman, Job Sikhala repeated the same message in less euphemised way when he told party faithfuls in Bikita that the MDC was seriously at war against ZANU PF and President Mnangagwa and that the opposition would overthrow him. The careless use of words such as war, overthrow and armed confrontation are becoming common in the MDC as the party is slowly and painfully embracing the reality that Chamisa's 30 July 2018 electoral loss to President Mnangagwa cannot be wished away or reversed. It is Chamisa who first threatened President Mnangagwa with war during his first congress speech in Gweru in May.
Such anti-peace vocabulary is perfectly in line with an increasingly desperate Chamisa who is realising that his baseless illegitimacy drive against President Mnangagwa is falling flat on its face after regional and continental blocs such as the SADC and the AU refused to entertain it. After embarrassingly losing his electoral petition at the Supreme Court in August last year, the illegitimacy campaign was his last trump card but his political world is collapsing around him.

It is in view of the foregoing background that Zimbabweans and the world should read the ongoing peace-threatening utterances from the MDC leader and his lieutenants.

Amid this sad scenario one cannot help but savour the opposition party's frustration. It is akin to a hungry dog watchinga housewife preparing a sumptuous and aromatic meal which it will not partake of. It just has to contend with watching her from a safe distance, his eyes following every movement of her hand as she stirs the pot.

The situation of the MDC is like that of the dog. When protests broke out in Sudan in April this year the MDC's mouth drooled in anticipation of a similar fate in Zimbabwe. The party got very, very excited when riots followed the Malawian polls recently wishing that the same could happen in Zimbabwe to enable it to seize power. As time progressed, the hapless political party was to realise that Zimbabwe is neither Sudan nor Malawi.

The MDC's continued threats against President Mnangagwa, law enforcement agents and Government in general betray the party's desperation to land State power at all costs despite being rejected by the electorate in the ballot booth last year. While nursing an ambition to run this country is neither sinful nor criminal, it is the MDC's propensity to resort to illegal means of attaining power that worries all progressive Zimbabweans. Real democrats know that electoral success does not only consist in winning every election, but in knowing when to continue fighting and when to stop, re-group, re-strategise and fight another day. The kind of desperation that Chamisa and his members are displaying is one which is embarrassing.

Real democrats know that elections are won in constituencies through ideas and projects that win the hearts of the electorate and not on twitter, in western capitals or in local courts. The electorate is like the heart. It drifts where is it is appreciated and not treated like children through childish promises of village airports.

In November last year Labour, Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) leader, Linda Masarira exposed the MDC's subversive plot to unseat ZANU PF from power through armed insurrection manned by some of its youths who were undergoing military training in some countries in the region. The MDC's tendency to invoke war, instability and overthrowing President Mnangagwa is now lending credence to Masarira's expose.

Zimbabweans fought a bitter and protracted struggle against consecutive colonial regimes since the 1960s where an estimated 50 000 people lost their lives. Zimbabwe cannot afford another such period especially one pushed by one of its citizens who is aggrieved by a deserved electoral loss. This is not the time for Chamisa's make-believe and Toy Story wars. The SADC region does not want any more wars. That is why it does not entertain Chamisa's so-called diplomatic offensive meant to get the bloc's sympathy.

To SADC wars are now all in the past. It is now time to develop the region and improve its peoples' livelihoods. Going forward, politics in individual countries should, therefore, be a contest of ideas to improve the quality of people's lives and not encouraging dangerous and crazy stunts which are promoted as democracy by some political psychos among us.

- Nobleman Runyanga


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