Zimbabwe does not need endless political feuds

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa (right) is challenging the victory of Emmerson Mnangagwa (right) in July's election

HARARE – Youthful MDC leader Nelson Chamisa — who took over the control of the popular labour-backed party following the death of founding president Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year — has threatened to unfurl crippling demonstrations in the wake of his loss at the Constitutional Court.

Chamisa had taken his complaints to the highest court over the results of the July 30 presidential elections. In that election, Chamisa lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa who now leads Zanu PF following the departure of Robert Mugabe in November last year.

While it is the party’s democratic and constitutional right to demonstrate, the anarchy into which most of these protests degenerate are not for this world. Dialogue has the capacity to solve most conflicts. In fact, when people engage in dialogue, they are set to find each other. There is every chance that either sides to the conflict will get to know each other’s position.

For the MDC Alliance, therefore, protests and demonstrations will not deliver electoral victory for them. Rather, this will push the doddering economy further down the abyss. On one hand, it should never be about getting into power but also thinking about the good of the generality of the population.

For Zimbabweans, life has been unbearable for far too long now and they want a break. For decades now, the economy has been on a free-fall causing untold suffering to the people.

The country’s health delivery system has been characterised by the shortage of basic drugs while some critical medical procedures have been performed using antiquated equipment, thereby compromising the people’s health.

Jobs have been hard to come by following the closure of hundreds of firms as the economy continued to haemorrhage.

The people’s priorities lie elsewhere other than endless political bouts. Only on August 1, at least six people lost their lives during protests in Harare after the army was called in to break up demonstrations that had turned ugly.

MDC Alliance supporters had taken to the streets to protest against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) over the delay in announcing the results of the presidential elections as well as alleged bias by the national elections management body.

While the Constitution is clear about who should rule after an election, the dynamics in the country’s presidential elections call for an inclusive arrangement because the winner-takes-all principle does not seem to favour the future of the country.

As people haggle over positions, they should remember that the country’s future is at stake. Whatever today’s leaders may want to do, they should remember that the future remains crucial.

Both Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance must listen to voices that are coming from all over encouraging them to come to the negotiating table for the common good. Zanu PF has a parliamentary majority which will enable the party to push through constitutional amendments they may deem necessary.

Already, there have been indications that the ruling party may want to push the minimum presidential age up from the current 40 years, a move that could push Chamisa out of the race in 2023.

Zimbabweans must also learn from past experiences where people are used by politicians who are keen to achieve personal goals. The leadership must think about the well-being of the majority of the population. This should be the priority and not perennial quarrels.