By Wisdom Mumera
MDC Alliance failed to trim Zanu PF’s share of seats in Parliament and is set to go against a ruling party with enough arsenal of two-thirds majority whilst President Emmerson Mnangagwa also won the Presidency.
This has left the opposition with much to do if it is to survive and muster a strong comeback in 2023. Having exhausted local channels for a rerun or revision of results the practical thing left for them is to introspect and start anew.
Form a Party
The MDC Alliance was formed as an opposition coalition engineered to unite for elections, however, has failed to decimate the power and standing of Zanu PF whilst united its now apparent not one of the 7 parties in the coalition has the capacity to take on Zanu PF alone.
What is left is for them to unite permanently and form an opposition party. Most of them have been together before and uniting to form one party is not scary.
Have an Abiding Ideology
The opposition has for long been hiccupped by its lack of a focused idea upon which its actions are premised. This has ultimately led to an opposition that is reactive and soft to the touch with supporters who are not rooted in anything.
Under the guise of democracy, its supporters are whimsical political prostitutes open for business with anyone.
This is in sharp contrast with Zanu PF supporters who are rooted in a revolutionary and black empowerment school of thinking which even if not benefiting them, they still hold on to. Campaigning on the back of government mismanagement or corruption works only to a limited extent. The opposition camp needs to be schooled in something enduring and uniting supporters across generations.
Go Rural, in Deed
During the 2018 campaign, Chamisa made much-celebrated inroads into rural areas where he held rallies with encouraging crowds. He held rallies at Murehwa Growth Point, Nzvimbo Growth Point, in Chiweshe, Nyika and Jerera Growth point among other rural sites.
It was a strategy intended to draw the rural folk into the opposition camp.
“Rural Zimbabwe is our focus in this election campaign. In the next few months, we intend to step on every blade in every village in the rural outlays where the majority of our people live,” said Chamisa before the elections.
After the results came out there was a minimal effect of those rural forays. The electoral map is still the same as before with the MDC Alliance dominating in the urban areas whilst Zanu PF simply swept the rural areas.
Thus going forward MDC Alliance needs to increase its rural footprint beginning now. It has to go there and start building relationships with the rural folk.
Keep Chamisa Politically Alive
The opposition is currently faced by a debilitating lack of charismatic leaders able to rally the politics-tired Zimbabwean population. For all his political immaturity, half-truths and strategic missteps Chamisa remains one of the few individuals in the opposition camp able to muster a following.
Many of his fellows in leadership positions such as Tendai Biti, Douglas Mwonzora, Welshman Ncube and Elias Mudzuri are either intellectuals’ cold to the political touch, simply uncharismatic or dead fish to the waters of Zimbabwe’s electorate.
Chamisa can be nurtured to grow into a formidable opposition leader who can face up to the robotic politics of Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“He has reactivated an ailing opposition and we saw an increased voter turnout in the elections. We can’t run away from the fact that he has rejuvenated the opposition”, says Political analyst Alexander Rusero
Grow an African Face-Stop Running to the West
What started as a propaganda narrative driven by the failing Mugabe regime of MDC being a Western stooge has grown various negative narrative shoots. They have been accused of inviting sanctions and seeking to derail national progress until only they are in power.
Most fatal is that many voters now believe that.
The Chamisa-Biti visit to the US during the election build-up added colour to the image of that Zanu PF propaganda. The Alliance needs to shed off that image and stand up in its own light as an African party for locals, no strings attached.
Frictions with Britain lately, which has sidled up to ED, may be a useful spring out of the trap.
2023 is 5 years away but the job has to begin now for the opposition camp.
Tendai Laxton Biti is the president of the People's Democratic Party, a prominent lawyer, activist, politician and Member of Parliament for Harare East. Biti was part of the founding team of the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999 together with Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, Welshman... Read More About Tendai Biti
Welshman Ncube is a Zimbabwean lawyer and politician who led a new Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction after the split of the initial MDC party in 2005. Read More About Welshman Ncube
The MDC Alliance is a coalition of seven opposition parties that was launched on the 5th of August, 2017 at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, with the aim to challenge Zanu-PF in 2018 harmonised elections. The party's presidential candidate for the 2018 elections is Nelson... Read More About MDC Alliance