MDC-T learnt and forgot nothing from past elections

RECENT remarks from senior MDC-T officials, including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, to the effect that the party had decided against forming a coalition with other opposition parties ahead of the 2018 general elections are an indication that the former premier and his lieutenants have learnt nothing and forgot nothing from previous polls.

Candid Comment,Owen Gagare
ogagare@zimind.co.zw

While Tsvangirai and his colleagues have a right to determine their political future and destiny, there can be no doubt that such an isolationist and unilateral approach against a background of renewed discussions about forming a coalition are counterproductive.

Granted, Tsvangirai commands huge grassroots support, but there are many other factors that apply in elections, particularly in an authoritarian environment like Zimbabwe.

The 2008 scenario remains a key indicator of how important coalitions can be. Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni came onto the scene without a party, structures or meaningful financial support, but managed to get 8% of the presidential vote, which denied Tsvangirai outright victory.

In terms of official results, Tsvangirai garnered 47,9 % against President Robert Mugabe’s 43,2%, whereas constitutionally the winner should have got 50% plus one vote. Had there been an opposition coalition, Tsvangirai could have easily won the polls. The fact that even if Tsvangirai had managed 50% of the vote he would still have fallen short because of a single person’s vote, shows the importance of every vote, while simultaneously highlighting the naivety of refusing to work with “small parties”.

However, even numbers alone are not enough in an environment like Zimbabwe where strategy is key.

The opposition needs a winning strategy that ensures supporters register, go to vote and that the votes are protected from systematic manipulation, fraud and rigging. Strategies are also needed to deal with aspects such as intimidation, coercion and violence. There is also need to deal with disenfranchisement of voters as happened in 2013, and crucially also, confronting institutional barriers such as the heavily-militarised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

These challenges imply the need for reforms and the MDC-T alone cannot ensure there are comprehensive electoral reforms.

In addition, a coalition featuring Tsvangirai, Joice Mujuru and other players would re-energise sluggish opposition politics and bring renewed hope to the citizens of the country who are desperate for change.

The statements from MDC-T are therefore music to Zanu PF’s ears, particularly at a time the party is dreading the political impact of a coalition featuring Tsvangirai and Mujuru.

In any case, it has been shown in post-colonial African states that former liberation movements are best dislodged through coalitions, especially those featuring former ruling party officials. MDC-T should look at the Kenyan-style coalition which brought ex-president Mwai Kibaki to power in 2002, as an example.

If MDC-T goes it alone and fails to win, the biggest losers will be the long-suffering Zimbabwean voters who have stood with the party through thick and thin.

6 thoughts on “MDC-T learnt and forgot nothing from past elections”

  1. Sagitarr says:

    The biggest challenge of a coalition with, especially Mujuru’s People-First project is that those within this outfit were involved in political violence against the current MDC supporters with some losing life, limb and property (by virtue of working with and for ZanuPF).

    Asking these victims of political violence to suddenly embrace People First (perpetrators of the violence) is to lack empathy. To also expect such victims to forgive the People-First members who have not asked for forgiveness nor shown any remorse except to offer feeble excuses means that they can repeat the same cruel deeds at some point in the future.

    It is much easier to take the armchair approach of forgive and forget especially if you did not bear the brunt of ZanuPF brutality.

    Curiously, has anyone noticed the confusion of differentiating between Zanu PF and Zimbabwe People First? In abbreviation – they can both be ZPF In deed, there in nothing patriotic about Zanu PF and I wonder how Mujuru can now talk of people coming first after she was involved in running down their lives for (more than a generation) 36 years. To me she and her party are deceitful.

    Also notice that the People First focus has been to recruit voters from Zanu PF and war vets (perpetrators of violence). I have not heard them inviting anyone else.

    As a voter, I would like to know what People First really offers which is different from the nonsense we witness in Zanu PF daily. But the more I scrutinize the more sceptical I become.

    Coalition with any other small party, in my view, is welcome. They have always been in opposition anyway.

    Let me express my thinking in number terms. If 4 million people vote freely, unhindered with no violence or bias from all institutions and parties involved, I would give MDC 3m votes and 1m votes to the rest. People are sick and tired of Zanu PF in whatever form or shape it emerges. It is very retrogressive. People who cannot stop their colleagues from committing violence can never lead effectively without it.

    1. Mataure says:

      Tsvangirai was once very popular with people regarding him as the man to replace Mugabe. But things have since changed, with new candidates emerging on the political field. Even though these candidates are still to be tested for political support and credibility, they can definitely give Tsvangirai a run for his money.

      Having said that, one thing which is quite clear is that, come elections, the opposition vote will be split several ways leaving Zanu with an outright victory.

  2. Cedric Khumalo says:

    So you thought Tsvangirai was going to learn anything? VaTsvangirai is learning impaired. He just does not have the required brains. The chap needs replacement.

  3. Mukai says:

    The first issue that people need to acknowledge is that Tsvangirai won all elections from 2002, this is now an open secret for those in the security establishment.
    The second issue is that all the splinter groups from the original MDC were and are still CIO pet projects and forming a coalition with them will severely compromise the MDC-T. Have you ever wondered why Welshman, Biti and Mangoma always viciously attack Morgan instead of directing their attacks at Mugabe?
    The third issue is that Mugabe and his cronies will not respect the will of the people by accepting defeat at the ballot. But a Tunisian style demo will change the political landscape drastically.
    The only option left for Zim is for Morgan to continue with his protests and also ask the USA for help in tracking Mugabe’s financial deals and wealth. You cannot defeat Mugabe until you know where his funding comes from.

  4. PutsomeRespekOnIT says:

    No coalitions please! Can you imagine the size of that govt if they were able to win. The level of looting would be unmatched.

  5. Lucky Solani says:

    Seems like someone is busy chasing mice instead of dealing with the elephant in the room

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