Richard Runyararo Mahomva
The opposition’s participation in this election is quite commendable. The 2018 harmonised elections afforded all political parties an opportunity to measure their relevance in the country’s body-politic.
As such, the election results have clearly given indicators of the relevance of both the ruling and the opposition.
On that note, I should hasten to indicate that the opposition particularly the MDC-Alliance has a lot of lessons to draw from its defeat in this plebiscite.
First, the bedrock of Nelson Chamisa’s rise to power is affixed to various contestations ranging from accusations of self-imposition as leader of the bereaved opposition after the death of Morgan Tsvangirai.
It is also a fact that his vindictive elbowing of factional opponents nursed his legitimacy at the same time weakening the support base of his party. This also had a bearing on the preservation of the institutional memory of the opposition. Guided by these key highlights, the discussion addresses fundamental errors of commission which frustrated Chamisa’s campaign right up to his desperate manoeuvre of clandestinely coordinating a riot whose consequences has claimed six lives so far.
First, the call for electoral reforms was justified. Even the ruling ZANU-PF became a beneficiary of these reforms. Their implementation helped to re-orient that voter that the traits of monopoly by the ZANU-PF of yesterday had vanished with the fall of the old order in November 2017. The call for reforms started much earlier, it started way before the dying minutes to the election.
However, the given impression is that there was a deliberate exclusion of this matter by ZANU-PF until it was towards elections.
That is not true, the MDC anticipated that the implementation of electoral reforms was going to be negated to justify their traditional clamour for a free and fair election. To their surprise, the ruling effected terms of the Electoral Act into law.
On the other hand, ZEC as an independent mediator, solicited inter-party consensus beyond its legally bound terms of existence. This did not deter the MDC-Alliance from discrediting ZEC in order to project as sense of victimhood.
In the process, Chamisa’s party lost contact with the electorate as it was pre-occupied with attempting to dismantle ZEC’s credibility.
Upon realising that ZEC was affixed to constitutional common-sense, MDC intensified its dramatized disparagement of ZEC citing electoral irregularities as their premise of contention. Clearly, the emphasis on these irregularities was a deceptive measure to invalidate the credibility of ZEC. This is why even before the violation of the constitutionally prescribed five-day timeline to declare the winner, ZEC was alleged of delaying the release of election results.
Then the MDC-Alliance organised a riot. Sadly, the unsuspecting citizen joined this anarchy project. The unfortunate happened. Lives of innocent civilians were lost.
Upon realising the grievous mistake of ordering his supporters into the street, Chamisa still unashamedly insists that the MDC-Alliance had nothing to do with the 2 August acts of terror by his unrestrained party zealots.
Even after his militant brigade wanted to decompose Dr Khupe to ashes at Tsvangira’s homestead Chamisa accused ZANU-PF for plotting the Khupe assassination. So going forward, Chamisa must take responsibility for the lives that were lost during a security operation whose intention was to bring back Harare into sanity. Failure to acknowledge his contribution to the unfortunate events of 2 August will naturally haunt his candidature.
This is because people died due to the violence he incited and yet he is not remorseful because his back is covered. Chamisa has only demonstrated that his supporters are aiding objects to driving his ambitions for power.
To him those who died (including the innocent lady) did not exist ontologically.
According to him what happened had nothing do to with his party and yet those who were on the frontline were chanting MDC-Alliance war cries which extol Chamisa.
With no doubt of guilt Chamisa is only holding press conferences to prove that the election was illegitimate. He is preoccupied with fundraising for a de-facto inauguration just to prove his muscle stretch of ego to Emmerson Mnangagwa –the President of the Second Republic.
If the full course of the law is applied and all evidence traces to Harvest House this will kill the public’s confidence in the MDC-Alliance.
This will serve as a wake-up call for Zimbabweans not to trust an opposition leader who incites despondency from twitter and is away when the arms of the state reciprocate the anarchy he would have initiated. Zimbabweans cannot be not ignorant to support a political leader who leads people into the streets from behind the scenes.
Holding the mass at ransom
Chamisa needs to go beyond self-interest if he wants to win the hearts of the Zimbabweans in the 2023 election. It is unacceptable for anyone to invalidate national processes if public institutions do not concede to their wishes. From the outset, Chamisa declared that he was not going to accept defeat. To buttress that, the MDC-Alliance youth wing made an oath to make Zimbabwe ungovernable if Chamisa lost the election.
Upon realising that Chamisa had lost the election, the idea of shutting down the city was sought.
This was strategic plot to give the international community a misleading impression that there is no peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
Having achieved that, the MDC-Alliance has distorted the image of Zimbabwe before the international community. Evidently, this will kidnap the potential for foreign investment simple because Chamisa made a decision way before the elections that if he loses Zimbabwe will suffer and will be ungovernable.
In a way, this is a disguised way of reinforcing Zimbabwe’s economic alienation so that the public suffers and in the process made to vote against ZANU-PF. This is not new, sanctions were specifically maintained for that purpose. As a result, this invalidates Chamisa’s credence to be a leader.
To him Zimbabwe’s economic isolation resulting from his misrepresentation of the country’s stability is a source of votes. He knows that if the doors for attracting investment are shut that will facilitate an anti-ZANU-PF vote.
The abortion of the Tsvangirai legacy
Chamisa fails to recognise that there is a legacy which precedes his lust for power. This is the legacy of peace which Tsvangirai demonstrated in as the founding leader of MDC. The crumbling of this legacy in Chamisa’s hands is a threat to the Tsvangirai legacy.
Chamisa’s use of violence to protect his interests has since invalidated the natural role of opposition as a civil channel for agitating the state to concede to citizen demands. From just observing how the Chamisa-led MDC has been unleashing violence or showing the propensity thereof. One can argue that the opposition now epitomes the culture of violence which it exclusively attributed to the ruling in the past. This makes Chamisa an unsellable candidate in the next election.
It is unfortunate that with Chamisa on the lead, the opposition will remain a key instigator of violence and a threat to the country’s peace. In the process, the ordinary citizens would be at the risk of taking the bullet for Chamisa.
Imagine what would have happened if these rioters organised by the MDC-Alliance successfully pierced into HICC –which was the national election command centre.
The electoral process was going to be completely shut down. The fatalities were going to be innumerable. From the other side, the rest of the city was already in flames. Private and public infrastructure being torn apart.
The rural vote
There is need to dispel the myth about ZANU-PF’s reliance on the ignorance of the rural electorate to consolidate power.
First, it is insane for any political practitioner and the political enthusiast to assume that the rural men, women and children are an illiterate lot.
In fact that represents a colonial psyche which misguides many to believing that being an urbanite equates to intellectual sophistication. It is on this bases that the MDC of Tsvangirai targeted the urban working class in the late 90s.
From that time to this time –in so doing, the MDC continues to get the urban vote mainly that of Harare and Bulawayo.
This is because their ideas speak directly to the neo-liberal character of the urbanite. As a result, the social-media has become the opposition’s primary source of interacting with its supporters. However, the results of this election have proved there are few passionate political participants on social media than there are active voters in the country-side.
Even the ZANU-PF inclined social-media varakashi were outsmarted by the real varakashi from the rural areas who spoke in multitudes through their vote.
The real issue here is that ZANU-PF has sold its ideas to the country-side where the majority resides. On the contrary, the MDC-Alliance and the opposition have failed to invest campaign capital where the majority resides. As a result, the MDC-Alliance will mainly come from Harare and Bulawayo.
In conclusion, Chamisa needs to deal with his problem of self-admiration and failure to be a leader who is responsible for the actions of his party.
He must be able to ensure that his ambitions to do not lead to the loss of human life. It is the same people who take the bullet on his behalf who should be voting for him.
That must sink in his head if ever he still harbours any intentions to lead this country.