Opposition Politics is dead in Zimbabwe

Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa
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Like many people who migrated from Zimbabwe, recently I’ve spent time discussing the challenges faced by the Zimbabwean government and role of the opposition in addressing the rot. Interestingly, I was added to an Opposition WhatsApp Forum called Original Political Debate (OPD), and the selling out, infighting, confusion, and carnage that I witnessed is scary.

by Sam Wezhira

As always, after being added to a group, I ask basic questions about the purpose of the group. This time around, my simple basic question triggered a hell of emotions followed by indescribable insults leading to my removal from a group I had never requested to join. From my brief 3 day stint in the group, I am struck that the majority of people who purport to be opposition cadres are not sure on the role of a responsible opposition in a democracy.

I tried to play the devil’s advocate and explained my view of opposition political parties in a democracy–providing leadership capable of protecting and serving the citizens as is service in the government. Opposition Members of Parliament have same constitutional responsibilities as those from the ruling party therefore claiming anything else is just a lame excuse.

Sadly the OPD members see things differently. Their focus is to scrub the net and share anything that suggest ZANU PF injustices, corruption, and suggestive political dances. When I asked about their strategies to stop such vices, all I got back were insults and abuses. My conclusion—opposition political parties in Zimbabwe are dead, we need there to be an emergence of very strong and and responsible parties capable of uniting people. These kids running around as opposition forces just because they have access to internet and living in the diaspora are not only clueless, but dangerous. In my opinion, the worst are those Zimbabweans living in South Africa who think speaking Zulu makes them superior. They have no vision, no mission, no strategy, and they are dishonest . They are so shallow to a point of being a danger to the society.

Zimbabwean people want change, and are looking at leaders who can bring them such change. I asked how that change can be achieved – zero ideas.

I tried to suggest that they come up with a strategy of uniting opposition forces. I suggested coming up with a coordinating group. A group composed of eminent persons who are capable of commanding respect from all parties and have no axes to grind and no political ambition. A group whose members must be able to reach out to all political leaders, civil society group leaders, the media, the youth, and so forth. Their foremost priority should be to forge an alliance of all democratic forces or opposition parties to ensure focus, as well as to ensure that democratic forces are not working at cross purposes.

We need a group capable of scrutinizing government actions for the good of the country; one that is capable of supporting and strengthening a country’s institutions; a group that can participate constructively in parliamentary life and hold the government accountable. Being an opposition does not mean opposing every government proposal, but rather provide alternatives. It’s not enough just list the government missteps. Harmony between opposition and government only benefits the entire country.

In short, I can confidently declare that there is no opposition in Zimbabwe today. I look forward to the emergence of a responsible opposition that is obliged to contribute constructively to Parliamentary deliberations, for the ideas and proposals that take Zimbabwe forward. The incendiary rhetoric, emptiness, and misinformation on these WhatsApp groups are counter-productive to fruitful debate and take the march to freedom back by decades. As I declared, opposition politics in Zimbabwe is dead and any semblance of it left today must respect and abide by the laws legally enacted – just as the government has an obligation to respect the law.

Source – Sam Wezhira