“Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen; there is a good read, especially for our useless opposition parties.
Sense and sensibility, the title, means a tendency to be overly emotional and/or romantic, or even to be overly influenced by the inputs from your senses rather than by reason. In the book the character Elinor has sense whilst Marianne exhibited sensibility. In my humble opinion the characters in our opposition political parties are all ruled by their emotions especially their burning desire to join the gravy train of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite and they will not listen to reason.
Zimbabwe’s opposition parties have now become obsessed with the idea of forming the coalition they cannot see the futility of it!
Zanu PF has managed to stay in power all these years because it has a very well-funded vote rigging machinery comprising of unfettered access (but undemocratic) and use of the State’s institutions, human and material resources include such bounty as the Marange diamonds complemented by the subtle (blatant if the situation demands) use of violence. The failure by Morgain Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to implement even one democratic reform during the five years of the GNU meant Mugabe went into the 2013 elections with a very well-oil vote rigging juggernaut, rigging those elections was a piece of cake.
Yes Zanu PF has split down the middle since the 2013 elections but vote rigging juggernaut has not been weakened in any way because most of the members of the Mujuru faction, the half booted out of the party, had played a very little or no role in the vote rigging in the past. They were passengers and the Zanu PF juggernaut will not be stopped because it off loaded some excess baggage!
The opposition parties are frantically talking of forming a united front because they know Zanu PF, regardless of the fractious factional fighting and succession wars, still remains the party to beat.
As long as no meaningful democratic reforms are implemented before the next elections, set for 2018, Zanu PF should rig and “win” those elections too.
But ask anyone familiar Zimbabwe’s politics; Will Zanu PF win a free, fair and credible election? And to the men and women the answer will be – “NO CHANCE!”
The sensible and logical course of action here is clear; implement the democratic reforms to ensure the next elections are free and fair and the opposition will have a fighting chance to win the next elections. But most important of all the new government top emerge, whoever it is, will have the electoral mandate and legitimacy to govern the country. The present Zanu PF regime has lack legitimacy and trust because it rigged its way into power.
So why does the opposition not doing the sensible thing and concentrate on implementing the democratic reforms and thus make sure the next elections are free and fair?
Some opposition leaders have argued that they will never get Zanu PF to accept implementing the reforms which will result in the party losing power. There is a ring of logic in the argument on face value, scratch a bit deeper and the argument falls apart.
During the GNU MDC certainly had the chance to implement the democratic reforms; they had the majority in parliament and cabinet and Mugabe had committed himself to implementing the reforms and free and fair elections by signing the 2008 GPA. SADC, the guarantor of the GPA, would have forced Mugabe to honour the agreements since that was the condition for granting him legitimacy after he rigged the 2008 elections. MDC failed to get even one reform implemented in five years of the GNU because the party leaders are corrupt and incompetent.
Whilst it is true that the task of getting the democratic reforms implemented now that the GPA has expired and Mugabe has the majority in parliament is a big challenge, still it is not an impossible one. Yet, since the 2013 rigged elections the opposition parties have done nothing to implement the all-important reforms because most of the opposition parties are still led by the same breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent GNU leaders.
Why would any sensible person take part in an election in which the whole electoral process biased in favour of the opponent from start to finish? Zanu PF has been smart enough to know that it must not “win” all the gravy train seats; it has always allowed the opposition to win some crumbs. As long as some opposition parties take part in the elections Zanu PF will claim the elections were free and fair and earn itself some measure of legitimacy.
In fact, if the elections were going to be free and fair then the opposition parties would not need to form a coalition as they will be sure of winning the elections in their own individual right. The elections would be contesting against Zanu PF as well as against each other which is good and healthy for a democracy.
If the elections are not free and fair then the opposition uniting to make a coalition will improve their chance of winning seats given Zanu PF has such an unfair advantage already. Still going for a coalition on the accepted basis that the opponent will use all manner of ways to rig the elections is defeatist.
No sensible person would want to be political abused giving an undemocratic process a veneer of respectability and legitimacy for the sake of a few crummy seats in parliament. Sadly the overwhelming majority our opposition politicians belong to sense side of Jane Austen’s divide and only a tiny few are governed by reason on sensibility side!