Whilst the premier was justified in his indignation it is in the best interests of the MDC-T and indeed all progressive Zimbabweans for political party leaders to think objectively and carefully before committing acts of political suicide which will only be beneficial to Zanu PF, which has been praying for the demise of the inclusive government and attendant imperatives contained in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
If the MDC-T pulls out of the inclusive government without an alternative plan this will be tantamount to drinking poison and expecting Zanu PF to die. The Zanu PF strategy is to push the MDC formations to the limit by arresting their legislators and ignoring outstanding issues in the GPA thereby creating more outstanding issues whilst preparing the ground for an election. This election will not just be about settling the unresolved results of the 2008 elections but also addressing pertinent and outstanding succession issues within Zanu PF.
The arrest of MDC legislators and members may increase in the next few months thus forcing the opposition parties to respond emotionally without carefully thinking through their strategy. In responding emotionally to issues the MDC-T may then fall into well planned Zanu PF traps which may include more criminal proceedings against the likes of the prime minister and other key opposition leaders. In desperation the MDC-T will then be forced to quit the government of unity government.
This would be a most suicidal move as it would be an answered prayer for Zanu PF strategists who are wary of the implications of the full implementation of the GPA. At the moment the MDC-T does not have a plan B and in the absence of such an alternative their only option is the full implementation of the GPA coupled with aggressive and proactive internal mobilisation, and intelligent regional and international advocacy. This would be underpinned by strategic alliances with other political parties such as the MDC led by Professor Ncube and Zapu led by former Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa.
None of the three leading opposition parties can make any meaningful progress on its own at the moment and any attempts at self-seeking glory would be tantamount to mass political suicide. Instead of forming strategic alliances Zimbabwe’s main political parties are wasting time feasting on each other’s failures and failing to stand in solidarity with each other at a time when Zanu PF is indeed experiencing “a Lazarus moment”, as Jonathan Moyo predicted, and is on the warpath dealing ruthlessly with opponents by all means necessary.
Dabengwa’s principled stand to express solidarity with incarcerated MDC-T leaders was admirable and exemplary. Such reciprocal actions were expected from the MDC-T when the three Mthwakazi Liberation Front leaders were arrested on trumped-up charges of treason. Similarly opposition parties were expected to unite in expressing solidarity with Munyaradzi Gwisai and over 40 other activists who were arrested recently.
None of the three parties in the Government of National Unity (GNU) can elect a new Speaker without the support of at least one other party. This is without discounting the possibility of gangster tactics such attempts to win over individual MPs either from MDC or Zanu PF using Machiavellian tactics. It is at such a time that the political parties should be kicking themselves for failing to seize on moments of strategic importance and strategic and principled solidarity. A golden opportunity was lost when Mugabe refused to acknowledge Ncube as a GNU principal and deputy prime minister, and the MDC-T arrogantly referred to this as an internal problem within Ncube’s MDC.
A golden opportunity was lost when the MDC, then under deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara, failed to side with the MDC-T on the issue of the swearing in of Roy Bennett and the contentious issues of the appointment of ambassadors, the attorney general and the Reserve Bank governor. The MDC, under Ncube, then exhibited intellectual arrogance by arguing that undue focus was being placed on personalities and posts, instead of policies. Whilst they may have been right, surely the chickens came home to roost when Ncube was then due to be sworn-in as deputy prime minister and Mugabe refused to comply.
On the issue of the election of the new Speaker the two MDC formations need each other whether they like it or not. Pride, polarisation and lack of principled positions may cost the two parties dearly in the race for the speakership and beyond. Obviously more members of parliament may be arrested thus reducing the MDC-T’s votes in the contest for the speakership. Instead of revelling in the arrest of these MPs and lambasting Tsvangirai, Ncube’s MDC should condemn these attacks in the same way that the MDC-T should make principled attempts to recognise Ncube as leader of the other MDC formation as a matter of principle, pragmatism and appreciation of the political reality that Ncube is in control of most of his MPs. This could be useful to the MDC-T in the future.
This is the politics of pragmatism which is so critical to statecraft and effective political lobbying through strategic partnerships. The issue of Ncube being a principal will cease to be an internal issue when MDC-T needs the support of Ncube’s MPs in parliament, and when Tsvangirai needs Ncube’s support at the level of the principals because Mutambara may side with Mugabe. Why side with two wolves when you are a sheep? Similarly for Ncube’s MDC, they should not cheer when a fellow opposition sheep is being devoured, especially if one is also a sheep and is in danger of the canine appetite of political wolves such as Zanu PF.
Are these parties really serious about liberating Zimbabwe or they are just wasting our time? Zapu is critical in the power transfer equation, dividing the Zanu PF vote and unseating the former liberation party from some of its strongholds in Bubi, Gwanda South and Beitbridge. Ncube’s MDC with its deciding seats in parliament is crucial and strategic in struggles in parliament. The party also has reputable and experienced politicians who are definitely part of the country’s solution to the future.
The MDC-T enjoys huge grassroots support, is buoyed by the charismatic Tsvangirai brand, the incredible resilience of its nationwide support and ability to read popular politics. However without the support of the other two political parties the MDC-T is a beautiful vehicle which cannot move because it has no fuel to translate popularity to power. Zimbabwe needs Tsvangirai, Ncube and Dabengwa. Any politician from these three parties who tries to play superman could find himself relegated to the dustbin of history.
Dumisani is the chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust and principal spokesperson of the Matabeleland Civil Society Consortium. He writes in his personal capacity. email: email@example.com /blogspot-www,dumisanionkomo.blogspot.com.