Opposition chaos: Wither Zimbabwe?
By Vimbai Kamoyo
That there is chaos in the country’s opposition is an understatement, it is now dysfunctional.
Two weeks ago, the leader of the opposition Nelson Chamisa, announced the inevitable that he was quitting the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a party he formed two years ago. He cited that it had been “contaminated” by the ruling ZANU PF party and some people in the opposition.
He had lost control of the party with self-imposed Secretary General Sengezo Tshabangu recalling legislators and councilors willy-nilly.
With the High Court blocking the recalled members from participating, that became the last straw that broke the camel’s back and Chamisa announced his resignation.
“The original CCC idea has however been contaminated, bastardized, hijacked by ZANU PF through the abuse of State institutions. I will have nothing to do with sewer politics,” said Chamisa.
In an apparent reference to President Mnangagwa’s reptilian nickname, Chamisa said he would not “swim in a river with hungry crocodiles”.
There is no doubt that Chamisa is the face of Zimbabwe’s opposition as exemplified by the panic that gripped the opposition with factions in the opposition rushing to him to rescind his position.
Charlton Hwende, one of the leading opposition members and legislator announced on his X handle that he had talked to Chamisa in a bid to lure him back.
“I had a 2-hr conversation with president @nelsonchamisa and we discussed his resignation statement. He is clear that he will never return to the CCC and he will make an announcement on his next move shortly. I agree with his decision,” he said.
It was a claim that was dismissed by Promise Mkwananzi, another protagonist in the opposition party.
“Those who say they are talking to President Chamisa are lying. Hwende is lying; he never spoke to the president. They just want to incorporate advocate Chamisa to legitimize their alliance with Zanu PF because they fear the masses,” he said.
Now where does all this tomfoolery leave the political landscape of the country in general and democracy in particular?
Chamisa’s ally Professor Stephen Chan has been critical of the implosion in the opposition and believes Chamisa should lead from the front and not buckle under political pressure.
“The view from SADC is that the Zimbabwean opposition has torn itself apart and has no credibility at this stage. SADC will wait to see what a reorganized opposition looks like and what policies it represents. Right now, SADC will not commit to anything from any faction of the opposition.
“And, if Chamisa is not leading a united opposition, his credibility and standing in Sadc becomes lower. He had credibility as a possible future President,” he said.
Political analyst Gibson Nyikadzino in his contribution to the Herald contends that the splits are a sure sign that the opposition is now tired in its endeavour to wrestle power from ZANU PF.
“The most empirical conclusion can be that the opposition is now tired. They have been opposition elements for a long time and the splits that have happened in the main opposition are attempts to give impetus to other ideas which only breed prominence ahead of elections and die down soon after.
“In this regard, intellectuals have done little to expose why the opposition in Zimbabwe becomes active only during an election and disappears when the election is over; its lack of experience and a strong base; and lack of internal democracy leading to fragmentation.
“Largely, the conduct and performance of the opposition indicate the need to answer a greater question in Zimbabwe’s national body politic on whether as a result of these opposition maneuvers the country’s multiparty system is progressing or not,” he said.
Nyikadzino asserts that Chamisa needs to avoid individualism and splits do not bode well for the country’s democracy.
“Mr Chamisa wants people to believe he can do everything alone. He does not want to compromise because he wants to protect his seat knowing very well that from the onset he was unconstitutionally elevated to lead his seniors.
“Now, with a political rally that was conducted by his accessories, Mr. Gift Siziba and Mr. Amos Chibaya in Manicaland, on a new project they say is being built from “rubble”, Mr. Chamisa is telling his former opposition colleagues that he needs independence.
“He is quick to forget that in politics, you compromise to get something and pursue strategic interests even from people you disagree with. You should be ready to lose something to gain,” he said.