Opposition must balance Popularity contest and Political Strategies
By Academic Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
1. Winning elections is totally different from winning State power. Voting is something else, and counting of votes is another factor. Being popular, on the other and turning the popularity contest into a political dividend is another case study for another day. Winning and declaration of results is totally different.
Opposition needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with case studies on why they have remained in opposition for twenty years, yet they had another popular brand. I have no problems with popular brands, but how to turn the popularity contest into a political dividend.
2. One thing you must understand is that Revolutionary movements are different from any other political institutions and this must be a case study for another day. I just want to make some major highlights on the current wrangles in the opposition movement in relation to the current political scenarios and other factors. You need to put it into consideration that this is a Military Government under a civilian face.
3. You also need to understand that Mnangagwa popularly known as ” Garwe”, is totally different from Mugabe. This is the man who held the most sensitive senior positions in the Post Mugabe era since 1980, and you must never underestimate him. He was the State and Security Minister, and you know what it means, he was the defence minister, he held Justice and Home Affairs portfolio and moreover he was a personal aide to former President and Veteran Leader Robert Mugabe. He was also the Vice President before he escaped to Mozambique through the bush. This is an episode for another day. How he escaped , and how he bounced back to the position of Presidency tells you a lot about the man you are dealing with. In short, or simpler terms, he is not cheap as you may think.
4. I was studying the current scenario where opposition is in a state of paralysis and on this one, I don’t see a situation where these recalls will be reversed, and we are likely to experience more recalls and moreover an attempt to crush the main opposition Leader into the political dustbin. If political strategies are not put into place, we may for see the opposition movement being crippled and this may affect the 2023 performance.
My opinion :
1. There is a de – link between political and legal strategies.
2. Political route is the way to go. It may be proper to engage ED at the highest level to come up with political solutions to deal with the current crisis
3. Proper Think Tank to bank roll their ideas. They must have seen this coming in the long run.
4. Opposition must invest in strategic intelligence. If you study the intelligence wings, you discover that Zanu PF governing party have Director General and may be at least over 12 deputies, and these are specialists who have strong intellectual capacity to deal with situations
5. Sometimes popular brand does not work in resolving political problems. You may need to be strategic as a movement.
7. Opposition too exposed, literary with too many posts on social media. EG party documents, it may not be necessary to be posting them on social media. Play cards close to your chest. People must guess or not sure of the next move of the party.
8. When Zanu strikes, take a sober moment for at least few days coming up with strategies on how to counter moves.
9. Opposition has serious infiltrations , which they need to deal with at a later stage.
10. Successful political institutions invest in intelligence.
11. Some may think the Mwonzora faction made such decisions few days or weeks ago, they have already lined up political strategies and this thing is too deep and it was master – minded long back.
12. This is a merry go round game with divide and rule tactics. Come 2023/4, some other tactics may arise and the rest goes on. You need to be armed with political strategies either long terms or short term solutions.
Last but not least, too many conflicting statements, decisions may result in flow of inconsistencies and emotional decisions. There has to be proper political tools to deal with the current crisis. Strategies that are too open in the public are detrimental.
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is a Policy Advisor and Researcher and he is also the Director of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking ( ZIST), and he can be contacted at email@example.com