Mujuru’s grandstanding not good coalition

Most Zimbabweans on this day are caught on the crossroads with regards to the discourse of political coalitions that has gripped the nation. The possible modalities, merits and demerits are being tabulated by analysts and different concerned citizens. It’s a case of cognitive dissonance.

Opinion By Wilton Nyasha Machimbira

Yes the opposition formations need to take a leaf from other countries where predatory hitherto monolithic structures were dismantled. Abdoulaye Wade from Senegal was toppled through a coalition of opposition parties at a time he was making mischievous manoeuvres to amend the constitution so as to be able to run for a third time of office. Yahya Jammeh in Gambia was ousted by a coalition of opposition parties. The opposition formations managed to come together driven by mutual interest and bound by mutual trust and respect. One is tempted to ask if our opposition formations are sincerely driven by mutual interest and bound by mutual trust and respect. We need to examine our political contours and see if the opposition political coalition victory can be replicated in Zimbabwe.

As appealing as the idea of political coalitions is and innocuous at face value, it’s highly impractical and grossly objectionable in Zimbabwe if the recent unwarranted outburst by people like National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru are to go by. Mujuru must be trained when to open her mouth, what to say and what not to say. How can uncultured people like Mujuru be expected to work with people like MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Simba Makoni and Welshman Ncube when she has the audacity of excoriating fellow opposition leaders on public platforms without any qualms.

Mujuru’s uncouth grandstanding is not good for the envisaged political coalition. Does that show mutual interest, trust and respect? Zimbabweans are yearning for a leadership with integrity and leadership with integrity doesn’t prioritise shadowboxing and mudslinging as she is displaying. Mujuru is one such a person who deserves to be left alone in the cold. Her incessant attacks on the person of Tsvangirai reflect her true intentions, to destroy the Tsvangirai brand, put the daggers and spanners on the democratic struggle, something which will obviously hit a brick wall.

The current economic miasma in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the doorstep of Zanu PF where political loudmouths like Mujuru were born and bred. Such is public knowledge, but to our chagrin Mujuru directs her attacks on Tsvangirai and expects the masses to take her seriously. The masses were on the verge of exonerating Mujuru from a plethora of misdeeds orchestrated by Zanu PF against the people of Zimbabwe. The masses were now warming up to the Mujuru gospel mistaking her to have gone through the redemptive damascene moment, but the masses are now sceptical, they are being put off and pushed away by the distasteful utterances of Mujuru. No Madame Mujuru, the earlier you familiarise yourself with the nuances of political etiquette the better. The earlier you grasp the national mood the better. Those around you need to reprimand you if they are serious with being taken seriously as a new fledgling political outfit.

We said it before and will keep on saying it, dining and wining with former Zanu PF members is not healthy for the opposition political formations like MDC-T. It’s like being tempted to accept a swimming competition with crocodiles. Crocodiles are crocodiles, they will never be tamed. There is glaring evidence which buttresses the danger of hobnobbing with former Zanu PF members. From the maverick Edgar Tekere, the spiteful Jonathan Moyo, Temba Peter Mliswa and of late Meeting Pearson Mbalekwa, all proved to have trait of betraying. Opposition formations need not to be naïve, but rather show the bravado and pragmatism so as to maintain the trust and confidence the masses have in them. The Mbalekwa scenario need not to be overlooked. The political nomad by the name Mbalekwa feigned dissatisfaction with Zanu PF and crossed the floor to MDC-T. Like the proverbial cunning fox Mbalekwa rose through the ranks to become a top security official of Morgan Tsvangirai, but as we speak right now Mbalekwa is back to Zanu PF devising other strategies to ‘‘destroy, disrupt and dismantle’’ the Movement for Democratic Change led by the charismatic former trade unionist Tsvangirai.

There is no value that former Zanu PF members bring on the table. Bringing them on board will do a regrettable disservice on the democratic struggle. These are incorrigible political misfits who want to regain lost pride and relevance through the back door. They are bad apples and bad apples need to be thrown away lest they contaminate the whole basket. Political relevance is not something one can get from the blues or on a silver platter. You have to work for it and earn it. Tsvangirai and the MDC-T are advised to go through a thorough cost-benefit analysis with regards to coalescing with people like Mujuru. The masses want a new chapter in Zimbabwe with a leadership with care and not confrontation, a leadership that doesn’t abuse podiums to settle personal scores.

We want to wean ourselves as a nation from podium politics where out of sheer political ecstasy the masses are bombarded with rhetoric. We want a paradigm shift in that regard. The pronouncement by Mujuru that Tsvangirai is unfit to lead the proposed coalition are contemptuous of the coalition talks underway. For all intents and purpose Mujuru jumped the gun. Memorandums of understanding (MoUs )from the corporate world to politics have terms and conditions, they generally signal goodwill and intentions to synergise towards a common goal. MoUs are indicative of commencement of co-operative and symbiotic relationships with convergence of will and common line of action. How then can you be expected to synergise and synthesise ideas, goals and objectives when you attack each other in public. When such happens what it means is that someone is not serious, someone is sinister and insincere.

The crisis we have in Zimbabwe is no longer confined to the illegitimacy of Zanu PF. We are witnessing a new breed of briefcase political analysts who reside in their small world divorced from real life. It is such fake analysts who want the masses to believe that Mujuru brings the liberation credentials to the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe. It is such analysts who want us to believe that Mujuru has connections with the so-called security sector. That is nonsense! They want to impose a Zanu PF warped way of thinking on the innocent masses. Having participated in the liberation struggle is no longer an issue the electorate considers when choosing a leader.

Napoleonic past glories do not bring food on the table. Being connected to the security sector doesn’t give Mujuru an added advantage to lead our beloved Zimbabwe, rather it makes her an accomplice. It reminds us of her dark past as a beneficiary of President Robert Mugabe’s malevolence.

We need not to underestimate the importance of personal relations in politics. Yes the ideal thing is to put the country first and discard populism over professionalism, but it’s not practical to work with someone who despises you and makes disparaging remarks against your persona in public. President Jacob Zuma justified the axing of his Finance minister Pravin Gordhan on the basis that their relations, personal relations had collapsed irretrievably.
His explanation reflects the dark practicalities of politics. In this regard, opposition leaders are advised to have mutual respect on fellow opposition leaders if they honestly want to work together for the good of the country.

Wilton Nyasha Machimbira is a political analyst, human rights defender and Developmental Research and Consultancy director. For feedback and comments he can be contacted on