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Does expelling MPs advance the cause of opposition?

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By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo:

In 2005, we had Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube and others who differed with Tsvangirai, accusing him of dictatorial tendencies, and later on Tsvangirai led a faction which contested the senate. This led to main opposition losing assets such as over 300 vehicles, buildings and other finance to the Welshman Ncube led group. This left Tsvangirai weaker and later emerged stronger in 2008, and won the first round of polls, pulling more than 47.38%, which led to a run off. Welshman Ncube got at least 10 seats in Parliament, and his percentage deferred Tsvangirai’ s chances to occupy State House.

Povo accused Welshman Ncube of being hired by the State to derail the people’s project. The 10 seats which Ncube got, combined by Tsvangirai’s votes would have made Tsvangirai to occupy Presidency. Later on a GPA was signed, Mbeki, the former South African President, facilitated the agreement. Ncube occupied the Ministry of Industry post, whilst Athur Mutambara was deployed as the Deputy Prime Minister, and Tsvangirai became the Premier. All this was merry go round, today Welshman Ncube is back in the mainstream of MDC Alliance as the Vice President of the party.

In 2013, when the opposition was on the verge of splitting, the then Secretary General, and the Former Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti made it clear that if Mps were recalled he would change his name to Morgan Mugabe, and two weeks later, more than 13 Mps were recalled from Parliament leaving the chambers nearly empty. The opposition later suffered a major setback, laws were passed, bills were moved, and motions were set in Parliament, leaving the embattled Movement for Democratic Change , led by the late Former Zimbabwe Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai badly fractured. To add on to this, Tsvangirai called for no reforms, no elections agenda, which resulted in Zanu PF occupying all urban seats. What did the opposition achieve during the 2013 fiasco? This led Biti and others to front another movement and later on the formation of PDP which later collapsed, and we have Biti back in the mainstream MDC Alliance. This is a merry go round game. Biti was accused of being a state project and the rest is history. Today he is the Vice President of the main MDC Alliance. The party lost several safe houses, cars and other buildings which werr critical for the movement. The rest is history.

We have Job Sikhala , who differed with Tsvangirai and others citing a few leadership issues which were raised during heated arguments and meetings, and later the St Mary’s Legislator differed with the late icon and he left the main MDC, and he went to form his own MDC 99, no follow up was made as to issues which were being raised, and he was labelled, a Zanu PF agent and a CIO, and later on Job Sikhala, who is now a Lawyer came back to the mainstream MDC Alliance and contested the parliamentary seat in Zengeza constituency. Today Job Sikhala is the Vice Chairperson of the Alliance.

Now those who are back in the party are no longer CIOs? Food for thought.

In the midst of Covid 19 lockdown, under a statutory instrument which was invoked by His Excellency, the Head of State Emmerson Mnangagwa, a lockdown regulation was put in place to curb the spread of Covid – 19. All courts were closed, business came to halt, parliament was adjourned, Government premises and offices were closed, we only woke up to a surprise, to hear that the courts have opened and the judge is ready to deliver a judgement at 3 pm, over the rightful person to lead the MDC Tsvangirai. Legal minds came up with different opinions as to why the case took so long, since the departure of the late Tsvangirai, to settle the leadership dispute.

Armed with the supreme court verdict, Douglas Mwonzora, the reinstated Secretary General, recalled four Mps including Hwende for Kuwadzana, Tabitha Khumalo, Lilian Timveous and Prosper Mutseyami of Dangamvura Constituency, the rest is history. Barely, two months later another batch of 8 legislators have been recalled from Parliament, these are as follows, Chidziwa, Muradzikwa, Nomathemba Ndhlovu, Francisca Ndhlovu, Chibaya and others. Their emphasis is constitutionalism. Today, the same party has lost it’s key building, their Head Quarters, Harvest House , which was meant for their offices. The opposition is slowly crumbling. Simple question, are we going back to one party State, where the ruling Zanu PF, will enjoy the monopoly of power and all state levers without any further checks and balances?

I have few questions :

  1. In the midst of poverty and economic crisis, who will advance the cause of people in Parliament, since almost legislators are being axed from Parliament?
  2. Who then will lead critical discussions in Parliament?
  3. Instead of debating the covidgate which has astonished the whole nation, we are losing more Mps from Parliament? Food for thought
  4. How then does it aide, or benefit the opposition movement by recalling Mps from the August House?
  5. Coming to the question of social justice, socio – economic problems and humanitarian issues, how many people were being taken care of by these legislators?
  6. Remember being an Mp is a job on it’s own, it means no more allowances, salary and other perks evolved around the role of being an Mp ?

To put this matter to rest, whilst opposition movement has suffered serious major setbacks since it’s formation in 1999, you also need to reflect, and see what went wrong during all these splits, and come up with constructive theories and thematics to avert such problems in future. Opposition may need to go back to the drawing board and discuss what is really affecting their movement or project? There is still time to reflect, three years from now, you are expected to face another election.

I’m tempted to say perhaps around 2022, or earlier, talks will begin between MDC Alliance and MDC T, and you may see another Alliance of opposition parties with people like Khupe, Mdzuri and others coming on board, to say let’s establish a pact to face the ruling Zanu PF.

Honestly this is a merry go round game, the game goes on like that, and the truth is opposition will be opposition until they oppose themselves, whilst the ruling Zanu PF remains on the driving seat strategically. The fight will begin, who will lead the Alliance or pact between Mwonzora and Chamisa, or Khupe and time will be ticking, and by the time we get to election, Zanu PF will be done with political strategies.

I strongly recommend the following :

  1. Halt all insults on social media and other key platforms.

NB : You will never see Zanu PF displaying their strategies in public

  1. Deploy political strategies to deal with the crisis ahead of you
  2. Opposition lacks political acumen to defeat ruling Zanu PF party
  3. Implement rural policy by penetrating unentered areas
  4. Turn popular brands ( Chamisa), into a political dividend
  5. Stop fighting for crumps falling from the table, focus on the ball, corruption & checks and balances
  6. Come up with a formula to resolves your political impasse
  7. Political integration is critical
  8. Build relationships to avert splits
  9. Less talking and more work on the ground.

Today Zanu PF through Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa went round the country donating food humpers to the rural folk, and come 2023, those people in rural areas will not forget the covid – 19 experience, whilst you are busy fighting for a building.

  1. You need political strategists, who can see things ahead, and who can study the political matrix and equations.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is a Policy Advisor and Researcher, He is also the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST, and he can be contacted at zimstrategicthinking@gmail.com

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