I AM a Zimbabwean currently living out of the country but in touch with people at home.
I am shocked and surprised that the MDC is contemplating to participate in
the next general election, hoping to spring a surprise and romp to victory.
Let me however be frank. The MDC will be lucky to snatch at least five seats. It’s not that people do not support or sympathise with the opposition, but the reality is that people have lost hope in removing the Zanu PF government under the current election system and constitution.
In the last two elections, people did all they could to get rid of the “Taliban government” and attain change they were yearning for, but to no avail.
In the meantime, the opposition has been completely shut out and people have been denied access to the alternative medium that gave it a voice while massive propaganda has been peddled against it.
Let me predict that there will be massive apathy by the people especially in the opposition strongholds because people will only participate in an election whose results they can influence. Remember former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would always win 95% of the vote in his “caged democracy”.
The Zanu PF government is so desperate to have the MDC participate in the coming elections so that they legitimise their hold on power.
Since when has Zanu PF been so courteous in parliamentary debates to include the opposition’s concerns when implementing new legislation?
Even the government’s mouthpiece, the Herald, has been calling for the participation of the opposition. Despite public postures that they do not care if the MDC does not participate, in reality they yearn for the opposition to come on board.
The ruling party is trying to create a semblance of democracy in the period leading to the elections including allowing “British” journalists to come into the country and allowing the opposition access to the media.
Surely, the opposition cannot market its product in one month, having been shut out completely for a year and being bombarded with an avalanche of propaganda on a daily basis for the last five years.
The opposition needs to be clear on its position pertaining to participating in the elections instead of sending incoherent signals as has been the case. It should specify the conditions they need to be in place at least six months before the elections.
In the meantime, I advise the opposition to concentrate on developing its grassroots structures and have a long-term focus instead of adopting a “quick-to-power” syndrome which has destroyed many parties in the country. Change will eventually come, just be patient.