THE Zimbabwean opposition’s determined efforts to decimate itself before the next general elections in 2018 took a giant leap forward with the expulsion this week of 21 MPs aligned to former MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti.
Candid Comment with Stewart Chabwinja
In another act of self-immolation in the ongoing feuds within and among splinter MDC formations, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai scored what is ultimately an own goal with the expulsion of his former loyalists in parliament after he disowned them saying they now belonged to a new political outfit — the United Movement for Democratic change.
Zanu PF must be rubbing its hands in glee at the continued implosion of its formerly formidable arch-foe — the original MDC —for far from being a Tsvangirai triumph, it is Zanu PF which stands to profit from the expulsions.
The ruling party can put its feet up, reveling in the fact that its oft-reprised claims that the opposition is dying are gaining credence and, what’s more, the opposition is doing much of the damage itself at no cost to Zanu PF.
If the opposition sticks to its decision passed at congress last year not to contest elections until poll reforms are effected, Zanu PF will further increase its numbers in parliament where it enjoys a two-thirds majority following contentious general elections of 2013. However, the MDC has since announced it would revisit its decision and appears headed for another inconsistent U-turn.
It is Zanu PF which has been doing all the celebration as proved by several ecstatic posts on the social and other media following the expulsions which give the party a chance to reclaim more seats “by hook and not a little crook”.
Wither now, Zimbabwe’s opposition? Many people who have invested so much faith in the MDC since its formation in 1999 — to “carry on the struggle of the people; the struggle for food and jobs; peace; dignity, decency and democracy; equal distribution of resources; and justice, transparency and equality of all Zimbabweans” — must be bitterly disappointed.
After all Zanu PF appears to be at its weakest, torn asunder by internal strife and an economic crisis that has condemned the citizenry to penury and perpetual despair.
The ruling party is at sea over possible solutions, not least how to deliver on its electoral campaign promise to create more than two million jobs. Is this not the opportunity the opposition was waiting for when it declared Zanu PF could not rig the economy?
While the expulsions might confirm Tsvangirai’s preeminence as an opposition force, he is unlikely to be popping any champagne for this is merely a victory for myopic factional politics, with the strain of perennially contesting rigged elections taking a fatal toll on the opposition.
The dismissal of the MPs will do nothing for what many Zimbabweans have been clamouring for: a united front against Zanu PF misrule. If anything it will worsen hostilities, with Biti threatening to continue fighting to remove Zanu PF from power and “its acolyte in the form of Morgan Tsvangirai”.
That should suffice to perish any thought of a grand opposition coalition against Zanu PF come 2018 as opposition forces irretrievably self-destruct.