Time the MDC-T shows its planning mettle

EVER heard of the time when one becomes own competitor? It applies exactly to the situation that the MDC-T finds itself in at the present moment. With signs of an economy in a tailspin written all over country, the ruling party continuously at war with itself, its flag-bearer with one foot in the grave, and the other parties in varying states of advanced confusion and witch hunting, it’s the golden opportunity for the MDC-T to snatch power and end the perennial misery of the Zimbabweans.

by Josphat Jirihanga Mugadzaweta

That the MDC-T is the only deal in town in Zimbabwe country is just quite obvious. The overall endorsement of Tsvangirai by virtually all the opposition political forces is not just a coincidence either. The flurry of endorsements should however, be taken with a pinch of salt by the movement.

Firstly, all the other opposition parties have realised that they hardly stand any chance of getting a constituency, come the 2018 elections. And, in order to cover up for their shortcomings, they have devised the plan of piggybacking on the MDC-T’s popular support. Yet in retrospect, Themba Mliswa piggybacked on the MDC-T’s popularity in Norton only to abandon it soon after winning. Hey!!!!

The coalition of opposition forces against Zanu, come 2018, is the buzzword in Zimbabwe today! The problem with the proponents of the coalition is that they are not giving room for anything else. Yet the devil lies in the detail. Firstly, at what premium do all the parties with unknown support want join the coalition? I guess that some of them are eyeing nothing less than the vice-presidency based on their former seniority in Zanu and the MDC-T. This is an eventuality that the likes of Tsvangirai may not be foreseeing.

With donor monies drying up fast, the incoming administration will not have the luxury of having a bloated executive like what Zanu is currently doing unless if they want to be in it for themselves. This is likely going to be a bone of contention before consummating the merger of the parties and after elections-handling the egos of faded politicians.

In order for the MDC-T to avert this potential disaster, two options are available. The first is to avoid the coalition option at all costs and go it alone come 2018. This will serve the party from the twin evils of risking infiltration by untrustworthy characters like Mujuru and Mutasa, and maintain internal cohesion as a number of MDC-T members are also eyeing executive and elected positions in 2018, and rightly so. The second option is to engage with the MDC-T executive on what it is that they will offer the coalition partners in the event of a poll victory. The prospective partners will have to either take that, or get lost.

The problems bedevilling the mooted coalition are enormous from the beginning. The NERA platform under whose guise the coalition is proposed has a whopping eighteen parties with presidents and vice-presidents most probably eyeing parliamentary seats and inclusion in the executive after the polls. Crazy stuff!!!

If such a flawed mode of thinking is allowed to prevail, where will this leave the genuine and expectant MDC-T cadres who have stood by through thick and thin? Or else will democracy be allowed to prevail wherein all prospective parliamentary candidates from the NERA be subjected to primaries and it will be winner takes all? Again, I foresee squabbles here as the mainstream MDC-T candidates can virtually romp home victorious leading to sour grapes from the other parties.

As if that is not enough, some of the prospective partners are bickering, biffing and sabre-rattling amongst themselves. Before the ink on their dismissal letters from Zanu PF could even dry up, the crème de la crème of Mujuru’s ZimPF were at each other’s throat with accusations and counter-accusations ranging from still having links with Zanu through, lack of leadership traits, to attempted rape. Two derivatives of the party have since emerged; one headed by Mujuru while the other one is headless.

Tendai Biti’s PDP, which initially tried hard to lure then Mujuru-led ZimPF into its corner, has of late become enemies of the Mujuru outfit accusing them of stealing their members. How on earth will the MDC-T bring these antagonists under one roof, and at what cost in terms of horse trading, time and lost confidence of the MDC-T supporters?

Myths abound about Mujuru’s popularity and the lie that she has left with a sizeable chunk of traditional Zanu supporters. It is a well-known fact that Zanu leverages the carrot and stick approach of freebies and violence in order to gain supporter. Mujuru does not have the wherewithal to leverage either of the two methods of mobilising support like Zanu! I hope that those in the MDC-T executive are cognisant of all the foregoing facts and possibilities.

The golden gift to the MDC-T comes from an unlikely source, Zanu PF. Ever since the night of long knives of December 2014, when Mujuru was officially cashiered, the party has never known stability. The fact that the party has chosen a frail geriatric to be their presidential candidate in 2018 is a hallmark of a party that takes voters for granted. Assuming that Mugabe is recalled by his maker or accepts his incapacitation before the coming poll, the options available to the party are even less palatable.

It is reported that the new Zanu constitution stipulates that any willing candidate needs to be nominated by two provinces and then stand against candidates similarly nominated. According to this formula, five candidates can emerge. This creates a blank cheque for a number of members to fancy their chances. The implication is that with Mugabe contesting, Tsvangirai will have the gift of contesting with someone who may not even be able to hold a rally at ninety-four. Without him, the power contest within the party is likely to leave it either split into myriad entities or very weak. Whatever the outcome of the above scenarios from, Zanu is ripe for removal from power.

The economy has also shown the Zanu government a middle finger since its dubious victory in 2013. Firstly, the adopted major currency is fast disappearing from the country. Some Zanu diehards blame the disappearance on economic sabotage by unidentified forces. The truth of the matter is that the country is a net importer of goods and services; that’s its businesses and citizens are taking the forex to other countries in order to procure wares consumed back in the country. And then the issue of myriad prices for one product or service!

The very Zanu regime promised to create two million jobs upon being elected into office in 2013. What followed were claims by Psychology-less Maziwisa that the work on the airport road created two hundred thousand such jobs. Patrick Joao came in later with the theory that they meant the economy had the capability of creating so many jobs. Of late Mugabe challenged the very Zimbabweans to create own jobs. There we go. The party is so cruel and clueless. With Tsvangirayi’s track record during the GNU, isn’t it the rightful opportunity to give him the sole mandate to run the country?

What needs to be done after 2018 could also point to the MDC-T going it alone. On the issue of land, our leader indicated that he proposes to support the already settled new farmers. Easier said than done. Having worked closely with the sector during the farm seizures, I can vouch that the farmers have developed the moral hazard of expecting inputs with nothing to show in terms of output. A stroll along the highways of the country will give true testimony of what is happening with our farms, nothing.

The agricultural sector is the backbone of the economy. It requires a holistic approach after 2018 which will lead to its revival. The case of absentee and braai farmers should be dispensed with forthwith. It should just be a case of serious farmers taking over regardless of their colour. And the new opposition figures holding multiple unutilised farms (rumours has it that Mutasa has eleven, Mujuru seven). Couldn’t this be their motivation to seek power, to keep their ill-gotten wealth? Indigenisation policies promulgated by the Zanu regime need to be scrapped forthwith after the polls in order to attract foreign direct investment.

Where individual fortunes are set exacerbate national misfortunes, the national imperative should take sway. The hordes of politicians hoping to ride on the MDC-T’s political fortunes under the guise of coalition to power are doing it for themselves. Such behaviour may lead to unintended consequences such as failure by the MDC-T to focus on campaigning wasting time on the coalition talks. Additionally, bickering for post before and after the poll may scupper the whole project. It is up to the MDC-T to exercise proper judgment about who if any to go to bed.  Their supporters and the nation are waiting for their decisiveness which will make or break the party in the wings.

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