OPPOSITION politician Jacob Ngarivhume sees a bleak future for opposition politics in Zimbabwe, and has resigned to the fact that the ruling Zanu-PF will win again in the 2023 elections.
Ngarivhume, who fronts the Transform Zimbabwe movement, was part of the MDC Alliance in the 2018 harmonized elections, and pulled out of the coalition last year but remained vibrant in the opposition trenches.
Still smarting from his arrest in July this year over the foiled #July31 protests, Ngarivhume says lack of unity is the biggest undoing for the opposition in Zimbabwe, and other opposition leaders have agreed with him.
“I think more disappointing than fighting Zanu-PF is the lack of unity amongst the opposition,” Ngarivhume wrote on social media, adding that now was the time to act and to “tell it like it is”.
With 2020 already in the rear-view mirror and just over two years to the next plebiscite, Ngarivhume says infighting among the country’s opposition movements has handed Zanu-PF an undeserved breath of fresh air.
Daniel Shumba, who leads the much smaller and virtually unknown United Democratic Alliance (UDA), agreed with Ngarivhume.
“We need to open discussions on pertinent issues of constitutionalism, rule of law, state capture, reforms, and governance. None should entitle themselves or behave as if they are the anointed opposition,” Shumba, also a losing presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, said in apparent reference to the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
“We may narrow down to two or three opposition parties because of ideologies. We are aware of our enemy’s modus operandi. More than infiltration they murder, jail, disenfranchise, expropriate, torture, and use the whole state machinery as their proxy. Nonetheless, we must counter, adapt, and employ smart means. We must ostracize them from echelons of power.”
But President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, laughed off the sentiment by both Ngarivhume and Shumba, saying the opposition was its own worst enemy.
“You want them to unite over such quisling cause? They are united in rejecting it!” Charamba told off Ngarivhume.
Dr. Brian Sedze, a leading business executive and former organizers of State galas, said the main error lied in the belief among opposition politicians that their main fight was to get rid of Zanu-PF.
“I do not think the idea is to fight Zanu-PF but to fight for a better Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to differentiate the one being fought and the fighter in terms of character or DNA. Ideology, policy and strategy are more important than #ZanuMustGo hashtags,” said Dr Sedze.
Recently, former Zanu-PF chief propagandist Professor Jonathan Moyo also said the main opposition in particular the MDC Alliance was focusing on Chamisa’s soundbites which make good news headlines but mean nothing to the average voter. Moyo, who is in exile since the fall of the Robert Mugabe regime over three years ago, cited the #MugabeMustGo mantra of the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai as another false mirage that kept the opposition busy all for nothing in the end.
Moyo reckoned that when Mugabe indeed left in November 2017 under pressure from his former colleagues, the army and even opposition leaders, nothing has changed in terms of the fortunes of the opposition supporters, showing the bigger problem was not an individual.
Ngarivhume admits that 2023 is a tall order for the opposition, especially considering that Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube appeared to have tamed the runaway inflation which had presented hope of an economic implosion MDC Alliance supporters.
“I don’t think we are going to make progress in 2023 until we deal with the elephant in the room,” said Ngarivhume, referring to disunity and ego in opposition structures.
Political analyst Mufaro Chambati told the Zimbabwe Voice that unless the camp led by Nelson Chamisa realized they were being taken down a garden path, the opposition will be left even more bruised after the 2023 elections.
“There are plenty signs of poor leadership, dictatorship, student politics and politics of the stomach in the main MDC Alliance. (Nelson) Chamisa and his followers think populism is a sign of quality leadership, but in truth he lacks strategic thinking, conflict resolution and basic management skills. Does MDC Alliance need a new leader ahead of the 2023 elections? I bet so!” – Zimbabwe Voice