From the preponderance of splits to the injudicious decision to boycott by-elections, 2015 was the year in which the opposition formations were vanquished, leaving Zanu-PF to dominate the political scene.
It is no wonder that for the better part of the year the focus of the private media, the mouthpiece of the opposition, was to speculate on and amplify any petty personality clashes in Zanu-PF as it became all too apparent that there was no narrative worth noting among the opposition.
Having been caught up in a tailspin in 2014, following the decision by its former secretary general Tendai Biti to lead a split of the party —many people thought that it couldn’t get any worse for the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
But it did get worse in 2015!
Smarting from the damaging split, a peeved Tsvangirai decided to carry out an act of spite when he pulled the rug under the feet of his erstwhile colleagues by calling for their recall from Parliament in March.
National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda duly obliged with the order in line with the law, leading to 21 legislators being booted out of the legislative assembly and allow for by-elections to fill up the vacancies. As well as Biti himself, other legislators who lost their seats were Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma), Paul Madzore (Glen View South), Solomon Madzore (Dzivaresekwa), Lucia Matibenga (Kuwadzana West), Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (Lobengula), Reggie Moyo (Luveve) and Evelyn Masaiti.
Also recalled were Bekithemba Nyathi (Mpopoma/Pelandaba), Moses Manyengavana (Highfield West), Albert Mhlanga (Pumula), Roseline Nkomo (Tsholotsho North), Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Judith Muzhavazhe and Gorden Moyo (Makokoba).
The MDC-T also recalled three senators namely Sekai Holland (Chizhanje), Rorana Muchihwa (Chikomo) and Watchy Sibanda (Matabelaland South).
But what followed after the expulsion of these MPs was an act that will be hard to match-in terms of political foolhardiness.
In what has become his characteristic lack of wisdom, Mr Tsvangirai decided not to participate in the very elections that he had caused to happen, by declaring that he would boycott the polls.
Many political analysts including those usually sympathetic to Mr Tsvangirai were left in bewilderment and pondered whether the main opposition leader had gone bonkers after this astonishing boob.
Even the West, who normally attempt to play cautious in concealing their support of Tsvangirai, were left with no choice but to blow their cover and advise Tsvangirai against his decision.
While visiting Zimbabwe, a senior official in the US Government and member of the committee on reviewing sanctions, Mr Gregory Simpkins all but confirmed his Government’s growing displeasure with Mr Tsvangirai.
“We have heard that political parties here argue that it is tough to compete in elections. But we are saying they have to find a way of being effective rather than just saying it is too tough to compete . . . How can you criticise a process that you are not part of, one cannot criticise a process that they have not even taken time to test,” said Simpkins in his candid jibe at Mr Tsvangirai.
While the old MDC was losing the faith of its Western masters, the newly formed MDC Renewal was mired in controversy, even before it had taken off as its treasurer-general Elton Mangoma was accused of snatching the wife of one of the youth leaders in the party — Believe Tevera.
It turned out to be a messy affair as violence reared its ugly head as Tevera accused Mangoma of hiring bouncers to attack him, while the former also accused the latter of assaulting him.
Before long, the dispute spilled to the courts and Zimbabweans watched in horror as the new political outfit proved more popular in engaging in scandals than wooing the voter.
Following this incident, Mangoma, who was facing expulsion for his misdemeanours pulled out and formed his own party, dubbed the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, heralding yet another split of the splinter MDC.
It was not a surprise therefore that when the Afrobarometer Survey was released around mid-year, it showed that President Mugabe’s support had grown than what had been recorded ahead of the election of 2013.
According to the survey titled “Public Perceptions on Corruption”, Afrobarometer said at least 63 percent of Zimbabweans surveyed trust President Mugabe.
It also said 70 percent of the rural populace trusts the President while in urban centres he had made major inroads with 45 percent of the population also indicating their support for the President.
In the second half of the year, it seemed the opposition MDCs went on a free-fall as the increasingly forlorn Tsvangirai was clearly running out of strategies to revive his beleaguered party.
It was clear that Mr Tsvangirai had also hit hard times personally, and embarrassingly, the law firm Atherstone and Cook had to take him to court over a US$900 debt. More shenanigans by Mr Tsvangirai were to emerge after it was revealed that the serial womaniser has yet another woman whom he is customarily married to.
The scandal was brought to the fore in court in September, after the woman, Josephine Chibali’s belongings were attached by her landlord Mrs Patience Matshe, leading the former to reveal that her rentals were being paid by Mr Tsvangirai, who is her husband.
Towards the end of the year, Mr Tsvangirai attempted to continue to seek some political redemption and in November he convened a meeting for all opposition to sign a document to boycott elections.
He was left with egg on face as his former colleagues, Messer’s Mangoma and Biti as well as the Lovemore Madhuku’s NCA boycotted the event, which was attended by little known parties.
The boycott was a clear sign that Zanu-PF need not even lose sleep about the mooted “grand opposition coalition”.
Even Western embassies shunned the event, with only Australia’s Ms Suzanne McCourt the only diplomat who bothered to attend.
What was telling, however, was that after having snubbed Mr Tsvangira’s convention, ambassadors made a beeline to attend the Zanu-PF National People’s Conference, which attracted a record 56 diplomats.
Tsvangirai’s woes continued to mountain and only a few weeks ago he was roundly criticised by his supposed right hand man Mr Nelson Chamisa who attached the weak opposition in the country saying:
“A Government that cannot fix problems for common men is unnecessary but. . . anaemic (sic) and sick opposition that fails to expose such a Government is both dangerous and unpardonable.”
Chamisa could not have put it any better. Another chap, Temba Mliswa has always been garrulous a fellow and often times he blows a lot of hot air, but he made a worthy revelation about the so-called People First project allegedly led by disgraced former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Some misguided elements had spread rumours that following her ejection from the party, the former Vice President would attract sympathisers from Zanu-PF into her midst and form a formidable political outfit to challenge Zanu-PF.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as Mliswa, who was initially a member of People First saw that the project had no light and decided to leave and form his own outfit.
It was an interesting twist of irony that Mliswa had followed the footsteps of Biti and Mangoma in the continuing web of splits in opposition political outfits.
Mliswa was able to narrow down that People First really is a bunch of few individuals mainly Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Jabulani Sibanda — all rancorous men who are trying to coerce Dr Mujuru to revive her dream of usurping President Mugabe’s powers.
Outside of this, People First has no people but has only managed to enlist the services of hired academics to craft documents, so that the outfit can remain relevant to the private media, where this less than a handful cabal of individuals are given space to vent their bitterness.
It tells quiet a story that the case of a missing person, Itai Dzamara turned to be one of the most topical political agendas of the year.
This is a clear show that the opposition has no narrative to tell.
They are ideologically bankrupt and have virtually nothing to sell to the electorate.
If Zanu-PF can intensify its agenda of implementing Zim-Asset and activating the economic enablers so as to bring meaningful benefits to the people — as espoused by the blueprint — it will be very easy to write the epitaph of opposition parties which are well and truly on the path of being buried and forgotten.
The Zanu-PF Conference was largely successfully and its resolutions, which mainly focused on economic performance and uplifting the standards of people, are set for implementation this year, raising hope that the revolutionary party will further assert its dominance in 2016.
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