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Coalition still Zimbabwe’s only hope

by: Moses Chamboko
28 April 2016

“I would rather fight it alone: Tsvangirai” was a notable headline on one of the publications in the last few days. MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, Morgan Tsvangitaiis said to have voiced that his experience of the GNU taught him to stay away from coalitions.

This sentiment is corroborated by his secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora, when he says “I can confirm that the party has decided to shelve any coalition plans. We have carefully analysed the situation and realised that other opposition parties do not have much to give to the coalition in terms of following”. Some have even gone on to suggest that other parties simply want to ride on Tsvangirai’s back. We beg to differ.

True, MDC-T is the biggest opposition movement today, nobody can contest that. It is also true that the MDC-T has a huge following. The recent colourful demonstration in Harare and other rallies we have seen before, bear testimony to the fact. However, we strongly disagree with those who suggest that the idea of a coalition is to ride on someone’s back. Our perception of an effective coalition is one that brings together our collective wisdom, strengths, tools and aspirations and fight the common enemy as one.

Yes, MDC-T has every reason to be excited by the numbers that turned up for the demonstration in Harare recently but such excitement must not turn into dangerous complacency. Nobody should be fooled by the numbers. We have seen a much bigger crowd before; remember the “crossover rally” of July 2013? Mobocracy alone is not enough to dislodge an entrenched dictatorship such as Zanu PF. Rather, we need more of combined strategy, tactics and energy. We need more hands on the deck, not sometimes but always. Each of the genuine opposition movements has the potential to bring something to the coalition.

Here, we are reminded of funerals in our remote and often poor villages. When somebody dies, the word is sent around by elders, often through the traditional leader’s messenger. In no time, you see villagers trooping with all sorts of goods and items. Some would bring firewood, others bring chickens while some bring small portions of maize meal and others simply bring their voices to sing or jokes to share. These seemingly small contributions significantly alleviate the burden for the bereaved family.

Before you know it, the deceased will be buried and it will be back to normal chores in the village again. Even those with comprehensive life or funeral insurance policies need mourners when the day comes. This analogy should be a microcosm of what a coalition could achieve for Zimbabwe. Having said that, Tsvangirai has every right of association or disassociation. He is free to proceed on his own as he has done in the past. However, it will be interesting to see what the outcome of 2018 will be, with a fragmented opposition.

Albert Einstein was not talking to himself when he said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. He also reminded us that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them”. It really takes some level of insanity to turn our backs on a grand coalition talk of which was beginning to raise some hope for our potentially nation.

Imagine the morale boost to the electorate and psychological damage to Zanu PF if we woke up to the news that Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni, Joice Mujuru and other progressive democrats have finally agreed to confront Zanu PF as a combined force and are backing one candidate for the presidency. Even those who have threatened in the past not to salute a president without war credentials would be forced to eat humble pie or at least quietly pack their bags and go. Trivial personal differences should not stand in the way of a nation. However, this is not to suggest that anyone should sleepwalk into a coalition. All parties should to carry out their due diligence but with Zimbabwe in mind. Going into a coalition preoccupied with positions, personal gain or glory will not fly...

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