FORMER Cabinet Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has advised the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa that his “silence and inaction are not political programmes” that can lure votes to him, in sharp contrast to Chamisa who last week said being quiet was a strategy in itself.
Chamisa, who gave President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF a good run for its money in the 2018 elections, has been accused of being “quiet and too churchful” in his opposition to a well-oiled Zanu-PF political machinery that enjoys the backing of State resources and solidarity from regional governments.
Jonathan Moyo’s sentiments come after Chamisa last week told hundreds of people who attended a memorial service for his late mother at her rural home in Masvingo’s Chiwara area that his political career was far from over.
“People ask why I remain quiet in the face of relentless attacks by Zanu-PF and its stooges,” he said. “If you are in possession of the ball, do not do tactics that will make you lose control. Keep your eyes on the ball.
“A dog that has the bone should not bark, lest the bone falls and it is picked up by others. We know the winning formula.
“The victory of the people is confirmed. The victory of the people is certain. It is not going to be withdrawn. Do not be afraid, we will get there. We arrived long back.”
But Jonathan Moyo, a former Zanu-PF chief propagandist, has subtly called Chamisa’s bluff and challenged him to move beyond meaningless rhetoric and nice words while remaining inactive against Zanu-PF.
“Going forward, opposition political gladiators and pundits should understand that political inaction and silence are not political programmes,” Moyo said in a paper titled “News headlines over reform headaways: The bane of opposition politics”.
The paper was presented at a SAPES Policy Dialogue Zoom meeting on Thursday last week. In the speech, Moyo accused the MDC since Morgan Tsvangirai’s “Mugabe must go” mantra of focusing on catchy words that only name news headlines but do not make the key rural voter move an inch towards supporting the opposition.
Chamisa was falling into the same trap and risked a long time in opposition or even heading into political obscurity, Moyo argued.
Moyo said Chamisa and his opposition friends were being fooled by factional friction in Zanu-PF into believing that the ruling party would implode, hence the wait-and-see kind of silence and inaction in the MDC Alliance. No change would happen unless Chamisa grew some bone and challenged Zanu-PF, Moyo reasoned.
“They (Chamisa’s MDC Alliance) should take another look at Zanu-PF; ignore the factions and unpack the party’s silent majority who did not back the November 2017 military coup; supported Mugabe and did not understand where the coup came from and have not forgiven Mnangagwa for the coup and they will never forgive him for it.
“This silent majority is pro-Mugabe, and a significant part of it, especially in the Mashonaland provinces, voted for Chamisa in the 2018 presidential election, but they did not vote for the MDC-A in the parliamentary elections.
“This Zanu-PF silent majority is politically bewildered, scattered and homeless,” said Moyo.
He added: “As a way forward, I see an opportunity for, and the possibility of, a major reform alignment in Zimbabwe which, drawing from the lessons of the squandered major reform headways in the past, could tap into the silent majority in Zanu-PF under the banner of pursuing what is best described as the “Mugabe/Tsvangirai Reform Consensus”, which has three major reform headways that were achieved by the two late leaders, whom I believe found each other between 2009 and 2013 on Zimbabwe’s unresolved legacy issues, namely:
- “The new 2013 constitution, which is without doubt a Tsvangirai legacy; ultimately embraced by Mugabe.
- “The land redistribution programme, a Mugabe legacy; ultimately embraced by Tsvangirai.
- “Youth empowerment, a shared Mugabe/Tsvangirai legacy; supported by Zimbabwe’s younger generation across the political divide.”
In conclusion, Moyo said the opposition must stop opposing each other, end their selfish fights and close ranks to avoid voter apathy. A meeting of minds must happen among kep opposition figures, he reasoned, so that they capture the disgruntled former Mugabe supporters who he said were many and would want to see Mnangagwa removed.
“No country within Zimbabwe’s neighbourhood has experienced major constitutional and political reform-headway without a meeting of minds across the political divide.
“It did not happen in Zambia, Malawi or Kenya. It will not happen in Zimbabwe,” said Moyo.
This is not the first time that the self-exiled Moyo, himself a Mugabe diehard supporter, has accused Chamisa of poor strategy and inaction.
In October, Moyo unleashed a ten point plan in which expressed dismay at the tendency by Chamisa to just throw fancy words of hope at supporters and then think that would lead to Zanu-PF losing its grip.
“The fundamental point is that for the MDC to be the alternative to Zanu-PF, to be the Government in waiting, it must do so by way of demonstration and not by mere speech.
“Strategy. Strategy. Strategy. The average political observer can describe in broad terms Zanu-PF strategy is to destroy the opposition. Thokozani Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora’s strategy is also apparent from their execution of it.
“Most of the political discourse reality to South African opposition politics is easily discernible to those with political interest. Both the EFF and the DA have definable strategies,” Moyo said, referring to opposition parties in neighbouring South Africa.
He added: “It’s obvious the leadership doesn’t have to share every detail but their supporters know the trajectory and the party policy on certain issues.
“MDC-A supporters and sympathisers in general don’t know the party’s general response to recent and current challenges. Yet they must know.
“Chamisa remains hugely popular among party supporters and voters. He has age and good health on his side opposed to most of his competitors. His weakness is that he has decimated the party’s key decision-making organs.
“Revelations of Zanu-PF fights at Politburo in the G40s vs Lacoste days make it clear that Zanu-PF people take party business more seriously than MDC Alliance,” Moyo cautioned. – Zimbabwe Voice ■