The once vibrant opposition movement in the country, which came close to overthrowing the Zanu PF regime in the 2008 harmonized elections, has beyond doubt weakened, leaving people questioning its ability to challenge and takeover from Zanu PF.
Zanu PF’s overwhelming victory in the 2013 elections seems to have left the opposition in disarray and are evidently struggling to come up with strategies to avoid another drubbing in 2018.
Compounding their misfortune is power struggles as evidenced by unending splits and splinter parties formed by disgruntled MDC-T members. New parties such as the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and Transform Zimbabwe and many other new parties emerging everyday despite being labelled power hungry, in a way their existence shows a lack of faith in MDC-T’s chances of displacing Zanu PF in 2018 and this hand victory to Zanu PF on s silver platter.
Internal fights within the MDC-T have caused the party to dwell on attempts to resolve succession issues. These internal fights have left Zimbabweans who had faith in the MDC-T clueless as to whats next for opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
While the opposition parties are struggling, Zanu PF has already started organizing its structures in preparation for 2018 plebiscite. They are already mobilizing people in the rural areas, a move which might see the party continuing to rule.
Recently, Zanu PF Secretary of administration, Dr Ignatius Chombo revealed that the party had intensified its 2018 campaign by acquiring vehicles for the Youth League.
This could in a way show how serious and well ahead thy are in terms of preparation. The old adage says “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” and this is a clear reflection on the opposition which, as of now, has not made any strides in as far as campaigning is concerned.
All the other political parties that sprung after the July 31 2013 elections including NCA, RDZ, PDP and many other have also fallen in the same trap and are not doing any meaningful programmes to prepare for the elections.
Opposition parties often sprout a few months before elections which raise questions about their capacity and ability to initiate change or proffer long term alternative leadership for Zimbabweans. To date, there are more than 20 political parties which are doing nothing to show they will be a strong force to challenge President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party.
While the MDC-T is the only party that came close to removing Zanu Pf from power in 2008, its divisions make this one-time possibility appear to be a pipe dream. Especially if the power struggles are not resolved.
The stance of not participating in the by elections by the MDC formations is their biggest let down. This has seen Zanu PF gaining majority of the seats in parliament leaving the few remaining MDC legislators vulnerable.
Afro-barometer, a South African based think tank recently released results of its survey which testifies that the opposition is no longer popular amongst the people of Zimbabwe. The opposition has nothing to offer and is in disarray constantly fighting each other, chasing each other from Parliament.
As it stands, it still remains that Zanu PF is powerful and has the muscles to continue dominating the political circles. However the birth of many political parties might provide a chance for diversity.
The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable. The Opposition is equally responsible in upholding the best interests of the people of the country. They have to ensure that the Government does not take any steps, which might have negative implications on the people of the country.
Given the current state of the of the opposition, It is totally impossible for it to serve as the alternative government hence it should not be a shock, to see Zanu PF romping to power once again.
With ZimPF taking a rather bold step by contesting in the recently held Bikita West by-elections albeit, on a losing course, the results show that with enough campaigning, especially targeting the rural constituency which constitutes close to 65% of the electorate, they have the pedigree to cause problems to the Zanu PF regime which has been clinging to power of the last 36 years.
Although, a proposed coalition of opposition forces is on the cards, the question still is, will they have the numbers to topple Zanu PF from power. Already, there seem to be suspicion surrounding the coalition as insiders claim there are squabbles on who will lead the much anticipated grand coalition.
It is time that Tsvangirai, Mujuru and the likes of Tendai Biti, Professor Welshman Ncube put their difference together and come up with a solution that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe who have endured close to decades of suffering under the President Mugabe led government.