Political opportunism that won’t work

Obert Gutu

Obert Gutu

Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
The reader may be surprised to learn that there was a failed demonstration by the opposition MDC-T on Tuesday this week in its bid to grab the attention of regional leaders who attended the Extraordinary Sadc Summit in Harare on Wednesday. Many of us neither saw the demonstrations, nor heard echoes of it, for the simple reason that a demonstration by a handful of drunken youths cannot seriously be taken as a political statement, let alone strategy.

Granted, huge international forums such as meetings of leaders and even sports games or tournaments are taken advantage of by people with all sorts of ideas and agendas — including campaigning for homosexuality.

Zimbabwe is no stranger to this.

During the inclusive Government and the inter-party negotiations that preceded and subsisted with it, we especially saw a spike in these activities as MDC-aligned, quasi political groups calling themselves civic society sought to get the attention of regional and continental leaders.

Some even arranged meetings and seminars and distributed various materials to try and influence leaders and set the agenda for them.

These activities died with the defeat of the opposition in the SADC-monitored elections.

The MDC and its allies were baffled by the results of July 31, 2013.

MDC-T has only recently been trying to wake up from its knock-out.

One of the ideas that the party and its leader have had is to stage demonstrations that will render the country ungovernable.

They like to call it mass action and we were told that this mass action would take place soon after the party’s congress last November.

Tsvangirai must have promised us that he would lead the same “from the front”.

These demos have not taken place, the most plausible explanation for which is that Tsvangirai has failed to muster the numbers and, more importantly, a good strategy to go with such a plan.

See, Tsvangirai cannot see beyond his short African nose.

Instead, the party has been encouraging, nay, sponsoring sporadic and poor demonstrations by youths, which demonstrations have never made any impact, predictably.

You cannot be taken seriously by anybody, can you, when you demonstrate and have banners with messages like these: “SADC save us from Mugabe ISIS”, “Zanuphobia in Zimbabwe”, “Mugabe should go now SADC”, and “Bob is election rigging machine”.

These silly and nonsensical coinanges are the best Tsvangirai and his team could muster.

How pathetic!

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has been seeking political capital out of boycotting by-elections which he was sure to lose, even though he precipitated the same by-elections by instigating the removal from Parliament members of the rival Renewal Team.

Anyone who follows Zimbabwean politics knows that Tsvangirai has next to zero strategy after the boycott.

Life will just go on after his moment in the sun of announcing the polls, which by the way justifies some travelling around the country and maybe replenish his pockets.

But let’s go back to the failed demonstration on Tuesday and how the media reported it.

One daily told us that “MDC-T ambush shames Mugabe”.

It is said, “MDC-T supporters yesterday besieged the venue of the ongoing Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit in Harare, demanding President Robert Mugabe’s resignation.”

We are told that the “protests took the usually alert police by surprise” and was “brief”.

On the other hand, we are told, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said party leader Morgan Tsvangirai would embark on a “diplomatic offensive”.

Said Gutu: “Of course, the MDC is going to take advantage of the summit in Harare this week in order to push ahead with our diplomatic offensive. (MDC-T) President Morgan Tsvangirai will be paying courtesy calls on the visiting Heads of State and Government in order to fully explain to them the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country…He will be outlining the reasons why the MDC is calling on the Zimbabwe crisis to be placed on the Sadc agenda.”

This is what the whole opposition could muster: a handful of drunks sneaking to the summit venue and its leader embarking on an improbable and ill-fated diplomatic offensive.

To Sadc and all right thinking people, the Zimbabwe question ended with the July 2013 election which the regional body, which designed and oversaw the implementation of a roadmap, declared free and fair.

South African President Jacob Zuma, then the appointed the region’s mediator, washed his hands after the poll.

He had done his job.

The region had done its job.

For Tsvangirai to try to drag the body against its better understanding, and indeed, against its chairman, is not just naïve.

It is political madness.

There is nothing in this to “shame” President Mugabe, as his detractors would want the world to believe.

In fact, the ones who should be ashamed are the cheerleaders of a clueless guy like Morgan Tsvangirai who jumps from one blunder to another and whose leadership qualities are so glaring.

And spare a thought for poor Obert Gutu, an otherwise fine gentleman who has to daily mouth these silly things he does to be relevant in the political playground he does not have the gravitas to play in.

And spare a thought for the moribund Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), too.

This labour union, which is thoroughly discredited besides being redudant, was trying to gain some relevance by “appealing” “to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders meeting in Harare this week to quiz President Robert Mugabe over human rights abuses in the country.”

As the world approaches Workers Day, this is what the country’s “biggest” labour body has reduced itself to — a labour body that already cursed this nation with Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe needs to move forward without being held back by losers like Morgan Tsvangirai who has not added any value to the political landscape of the country.

His lust for power, even through the back door, has not been matched by any demonstrable leadership capacity especially when it is clear that he cannot even run his ever-splintering party.