THE MDC faces the biggest opportunity to unseat Mugabe come elections in March next year. However, lack of decisive leadership and statesmanship in putting Zimbabwe first ahead of parochial interests is the opposition’s biggest undoing and clearly a betr
ayal to the suffering masses who are craving for change.
In fact, time is fast running out for the opposition and the earlier they realise what Martin Luther King Jnr called, “the urgency of now”, the better for the opposition risks being annihilated by Mugabe and his ruthless campaign machinery come elections.
The urgent issue is for the opposition to unite for there is strength in unity. Without a united opposition coalition, Mugabe will simply win by default. Global history is replete with examples where unity or lack of it has done or undone a democratic people’s struggle.
During the Chinese revolution, Mao and his communists were pitted against Chiang Kai-shek and his nationalists in a bitter armed struggle and the Japanese invaded China. Mao went to Chiang and told him that: “Brothers quarrelling at home will join forces against the outside.” The bitter foes declared a temporary truce and combined forces to fight the Japanese. After repelling the Japanese, they then fought for supremacy. This is an extraordinary act of statesmanship which is clearly lacking in Zimbabwe opposition forces today.
Therefore it is upon the fragmented MDC to rise above petty personal interests, culture of hate and suspicion and endorse one candidate for president, senator, MP, councillor etc so that each vote counts against Zanu PF. With patriotism, this is quite possible. There is greater opportunity for such an arrangement to work since the Mutambara faction is willing to endorse Tsvangirai as president. Tsvangirai should welcome this gesture and rein in anti-unity hawks in his party for the national good.
The advantages of a united coalition under Tsvangirai which should also include other opposition parties, independent MPs, civil society, the church, students and trade union movement, reformists who are willing to join from Zanu PF and those in the diaspora are manifold. It will create national euphoria that is now clearly lacking in the battered population today. That euphoria or national excitement of believing, like in 2000, that Mugabe and his rigging machinery can and will be defeated especially if there is an overwhelming opposition vote, is insurance against the hopelessness that has gripped the populace who are now more likely to be apathetic to the polls.
The opposition must never fool itself that Mugabe will postpone elections to June. Tsvangirai must rise to the occasion as time has run out. They have the power of technology, volunteers, the situation and indeed the people of Zimbabwe to launch a decisive campaign to defeat the power-hungry Mugabe.
The opposition must stop preaching the gospel of election rigging. Opposition supporters will simply believe that the elections are already rigged and stay away from the polls handing Mugabe undeserved victory and in the process sentencing the people of Zimbabwe to more years of poverty. The content of the opposition message must be directed not at the international community but to grassroots supporters.
Indeed the opposition forces must urgently unite and mount a serious campaign of hope otherwise history will never absolve the opposition for blowing a golden moment to unite and inspire the people to a new and prosperous Zimbabwe.