WHY SHOULD DR. TSVANGIRAI SUBJECT HIMSELF TO A COALITION PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION? (Part 2 of 3)
Indeed, Dr Tsvangirai must subject himself to a coalition presidential primary election. Anyone seeking to lead the coalition must be prepared to subject him or herself to that process. Past history is not proof that anyone is a magic bullet against Zanu PF, especially when the said Zanu PF is still gallivanting about looting and robbing at will. In Shona, there is a saying that goes, ‘matakadya kare haanyaradze mwana.’ Literally, it simply means no one eats history. It is the here and now that is of concern to the majority of Zimbabweans.
1. MDC-T democratic norms are not nationwide norms
This is a fact that many hardcore MDC-T supporters fail to see clearly. Whatever democratic norms have been observed by the MDC-T in nominating its leadership, are not adequate to nominate coalition leadership at national level. The MDC-T support base does not represent the totality of opposition support in Zimbabwe. The coalition is now a gathering of other different parties, drawing from an even wider circle of Zimbabweans, with different needs and perceptions.
By virtue of being the largest party, the MDC-T cannot impose itself upon every Zimbabwean supporting any other opposition party and expect to get allegiance. This becomes a classic case of ‘kugara nhaka’ even if the wife does not want; a situation recently corrected by our legal system. These other opposition supporters must have an opportunity to select a leader they want. They must express themselves. If eventually Dr Tsvangirai is chosen, these supporters will at least have heart in him, instead of derision.
2. Zimbabweans are tired of bedroom deals
The people are fed up with bedroom deals that do not seem to have them at heart. Dr Tsvangirai and his friends must show that they have the people at heart by participating in a transparent process that will earn the respect of all Zimbabweans wherever they are. Even bystanders will be encouraged by such a process to come and vote in 2018. And those hardcore supporters will find the public more accepting of their leader.
3. Coalition President must be nominated for ideas
There is talk around town for young leaders. In the Zimbabwean matrix, anyone under 60 is young. What is needed is for prospective leaders to let us know their ideas and plans for Zimbabwe from 2018 to 2023. What are you going to do? Do you have the resources? How will you do it? How will it benefit the people of Zimbabwe? The people must not imagine that and bedroom lots will not communicate that. This is why Western democracies are strong. How do we hold you to account when you nominate yourselves?
4. Coalition President popularity will guide us on 2018
The primaries will give us a good indicator of the strength of the opposition in Zimbabwe as well as the popularity of leaders in the pot. It is most likely that Zanu PF will draw 1,5million plus votes in 2018. Is the opposition likely to do better? If not, what strategies do we need now to boost support? Which areas are suffering more from voter apathy? The primaries will give a great guide to succeeding in 2018.
5. Primaries are a guide to how coalition will persevere
The coalition will bring together various parties and egos. How can we be sure that all these different parts will hold till 2023 and perform as per mandate? The primaries are a trying period where relationships will be strained. If these parties and presidents can last through the primaries, there is hope that the coalition can march past 2018 elections. Otherwise, this may be task beyond the sensibilities of our opposition leaders in Zimbabwe.
I am aware that many more have other reasons over and above what I have listed above. A good friend, Advocate Sitha Ngwenya, is fond of saying, “Democracy must be seen to be done.” Indeed, democracy must be seen to be done. Politicians must show they value the mandate of the people. Otherwise why bother with the lies when you do not even want to consult the people. And if the people fail to choose you, then your ideas are not strong enough. Surely, Dr Tsvangirai and his friends, still have a few good ideas in them, to excite the people of Zimbabwe.
By Fungai Chiposi, Mr.
A citizen and Community Development Activist