The arrival on the political stage of Nkosana Moyo has been received with mixed feelings.
guest column DUMISANI O NKOMO
Just like Simba Makoni did in the run-up to the 2008 elections, Moyo has generated an equal amount of energy, excitement, dissention, opposition and measured confusion.
The cardinal question on many people’s minds is: Will Nkosana Moyo have a Simba Makoni effect on the 2018 elections?
Is he the real deal?
Can he actually dislodge Zanu PF from power or is he a Zanu PF project?
Does the country need another super genius academic to rescue it from this 37-year-old political and economic quagmire epitomised by Zanu PF misgovernance and legendary corruption?
What Nkosana Moyo offers
Moyo appears to offer a welcome relief to the Zimbabwean political landscape dominated by geriatrics, recycled politicians and at times clueless opposition leaders.
The man has a swathe of ideas to turn around the economy and appears to have a profile fit for an American President.
He has the academic credentials, the business acumen and looks, some ladies say.
But this, of course, is not a beauty pageant nor is the country’s rough political terrain for naive theorist, his critics say.
Regardless of this, however, Moyo presents fresh challenges to opposition leaders to pull up their socks and rid themselves of a culture of political entitlement.
Zimbabweans, after all, are allowed to choose political leaders of their choice and it is the democratic right of every eligible citizen to aspire to the Presidency.
This is neither a sin nor a crime, but a constitutional right.
Similarities with Makoni
Moyo’s critics argue that he is an exact political prototype of Makoni.
Makoni like Moyo served in the government as Industry minister as a young and intelligent technocrat.
Like Makoni, Moyo boasts a PhD in the pure sciences.
Both men have a swathe of international experience, with Makoni serving as Sadc executive secretary for a lengthy period and Moyo leading various international organisations and the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (Minds).
Moyo has an apparent appeal to the middle class, urban youth and segments of academia, an appeal which, of course, is still to be subjected to the realities of African electoral realities.
Like Makoni, Moyo appears to proffer a third way.
A way which is not like the Zanu PF autocracy nor the Morgan Tsvangirai way, which has been described by some as uncouth or lacking in political stratagem.
However, is this third way a mere mirage, which will lead people into the wilderness instead of leading them to the promised land of a new Zimbabwe founded upon democracy, justice, social and economic transformation?
The problem I have is, while Moyo has a lot of positives on his side, his sudden appearance on the political scene at this moment.
Once again, there is the strong possibility that the vote will be split, that Zimbabweans will be confused at the last moment and a formidable coalition scuttled by the emergence of this late arrival on the political scene.
In the same way in which Makoni attracted a lot of sympathy, energy and ultimately split the decisive 2008 vote, Moyo is likely to do the same.
He will be seen by some, if not many, as a Zanu PF project.
Whether or not he is one may be difficult to disprove to millions of Zimbabweans, particularly those in the rural areas.
Actually, Moyo’s assertion that those who know him will campaign for him in the rural areas is the height of political naivety.
The Zimbabwean presidential election is won and lost in the rural areas since the majority of the voting electorate resides there.
Zanu PF knows this well, so their strategy will be to divide the urban vote and go all out for the rural one.
I have nothing against Moyo and I actually think he is a great person, but he may not be what the country needs right now.
He is too soft and apologetic to appeal to the majority of Zimbabweans, who want to see Mugabe’s back.
His messaging is so ambiguous in such in a manner that confuses the ordinary Zimbabwean.
While the “Mugabe must go” mantra is not sufficient in this day and age, ambiguous messaging, which is silent on the desirability of democratically dislodging Zanu PF, is worrying.
Moyo is an ideal candidate for the 2023 or 2028 elections.
He is most relevant in a political landscape where Zanu PF and Mugabe have already been removed.
Furthermore, Moyo signalled his advent into mainstream politics by ranting against coalitions as being undemocratic.
He may be right in other contexts globally, but in Zimbabwe, right now, a formidable coalition is imperative to achieving long-term socio-economic and political transformation.
Moyo must not do a Makoni on us, especially at this 11th hour.
He may have noble intentions, but these alone are not enough to win elections.
Dumisani O Nkomo is the chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust and spokesperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. He writes here in his personal capacity.