‘Opposition’s poor leadership gives Zanu PF upper hand’ – Regional think tank




Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) President Nelson Chamisa (left) and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (Image: The Zimbabwe Mail)
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THINK tank, Institute for Security Studies Africa (ISS) says the confusion and lack of political acumen in the main opposition will be its undoing in the forthcoming general elections, handing a victory to Zanu PF.

Zimbabwe will next month hold general elections which will pit old foes Zanu PF and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) for national assembly, council seats and presidency.

With 25 days to go, CCC finds itself in the political doldrums with a recent High Court ruling in Bulawayo throwing a spanner into its ambitions of clinching a majority in parliament.

12 aspiring Members of Parliament for the opposition face scraping from the ballot paper after the court ruled that they filed their nomination papers late going beyond the close-up time.

This has undoubtedly handed Zanu PF 12 seats on a silver platter before ink has been poured on ballot papers.

In a statement, ISS says the disarray of CCC will work against it in the general elections.

“At the same time, the CCC seems in disarray, with confusion around its candidate selection and the ensuing nominations court process, and the lack of a clear political message.

“Neither party’s election manifesto articulates a clear vision and policy direction for citizens to choose based on ideas proffered. Both seem to be appealing more to loyalties and identity politics than policies and ideas,” read the statement.

In the build-up to elections, CCC held an opaque candidate selection process to select its candidates which analysts believe is a root cause of double candidature and late filing of papers at the nomination court.

Furthermore, ISS said CCC is falling short of articulating its political agenda to the electorate.

Compared with the Zanu PF mantra ‘nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’, ISS opines that the opposition has failed to curate messages that resonate with the majority of the electorate.

“To its credit, ZANU-PF’s campaign message has been well communicated, with the slogan ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’ imbuing a sense of responsibility for the country’s development. This aims to counter the opposition narrative of calling for the West to help rebuild Zimbabwe’s economy. In reality, it is the government that has been negotiating with the West, and ZANU-PF takes no ownership of the political, social and economic mess it has presided over.

“The CCC has yet to develop a coherent message that projects it as a viable alternative to ZANU-PF, beyond projecting the latter’s manifold failings.

“The opposition also needs a solid message that resonates with the day-to-day aspirations of citizens. The hackneyed message of change for change’s sake rings hollow after decades of use. Unpacking the envisaged change and giving it practical meaning for voters will be the real game changer,” read the statement further.