The Sunday Mail
Richard Runyararo Mahomva
The 2018 election is here.
Certainly, nothing will change the unescapable fate which awaits Zimbabwe after the July 30 plebiscite.
This reality is confirmed by the fact that even the MDC-Alliance which has vowed to make the country ungovernable if ZEC did not concede to its extravagant electoral reforms.
In some circles, the call for these reforms by the MDC-Alliance has been criticised for perpetuating a false projection of a crisis in a subtle effort to conceal its impending humiliation.
From signals of the euphoria of the moment, Zimbabweans are eagerly waiting to vote for a new future.
This yearning for a new future desperately resides in the fundamental need for employment creation, retooling of the extractive and secondary sector, enhancing the ease of doing business, attracting foreign and local investment, infrastructural development, upgrading the function and the dignity of governance; as well as preserving long term national interests.
With no speck of hesitation, Zimbabweans will exercise their democratic right to render power through the ballot to a contender whose candidature is in synch with enduring national interests.
Likewise, for the first time the opposition has enjoyed vast and fair media coverage, hence heightened access to information by the public.
The rural space has since been liberated from the monopoly of the ruling party. Nelson Chamisa has held numerous rallies in the country side so far.
The violence which characterised the campaign climate has since been sanitised by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s declaration of Zanu-PF’s pledge for a violent-free election.
The autonomy of ZEC is quite visible for all to note that Zimbabwean democracy in this new era is in a satisfactory height of maturation.
This invites us an analysis into the projections by the opposition that the 2018 election will be stolen in favour of the ruling.
The purpose of this submission is to prove that Chamisa’s fate does not lie in the implementation of the electoral reforms his party has been demanding or the lack thereof.
This is much of the listed demands his party has forwarded constitute the key features of the run-up to the election.
Since the first post-independence election of 1985, this is the first time Zimbabweans will be have access to a wide array of presidential, parliamentary and council candidates.
This new experience in the politics of our country substances a turning point to an inaugural chapter of egalitarianism.
Out of the 23 Presidential candidates; Zimbabweans will choose a leader whose credentials define a clear roadmap to the country’s future – casting off the edge of despair and plunder.
The endeavour to terminate the supreme reign of the agonies of yesterday has been illuminated by the branding of this epic moment as the “new dispensation”.
Beyond the elasticity of rhetoric, Zimbabwean politics has now surpassed the litmus test of a plural political culture.
The dramatic overhaul of the old in the country’s electoral and state-craft ecosystem has dismantled the opposition’s past propaganda of claiming victimhood.
Of note, was the MDC-Alliance’s last demonstration aimed attending to their demands for electoral reforms.
It marked a last attempt to polarise the reality of the democratic transition that Zimbabwe has now reached.
Therefore, the prognostic projections of the MDC-Alliance’s defeat in this election is informed by a careful landscape survey of the run – up to the elections.
Zanu-PF has immersed in interacting with other political actors into much deeper heights of embracing political dissent.
The essentialism which defined Zimbabwe’s political past terrain has fizzled out as an unwanted relic that must never come to life again.
This is one of the reasons why this particular election promises to be free from the past passive culture around elections.
The change of realist value systems by Zanu PF have negatively impacted the all MDC faction’s past comforts in propagating victimhood as an ideological thrust to pursue the regime change agenda.
The structural and ontological reconfiguration of Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwe’s competitive political space has involuntary solicited a shift in the structure, function and tradition of the opposition. Consequently, this circumstantially driven transformation in the MDC-Alliance’s modus-operandi will sabotage its relevance in this coming election.
The Chamisa faction has to deal with the structural crumb of defining the base from the grass-roots right up to the apex of the party’s hierarchical pyramid.
There is no doubt that the Chamisa-Khupe split constitutes a serious reality of vote-splitting from the cell level of both parties respectively.
Factional fissures in the MDC have always threatened the sustainable consolidation of the party’s power base.
The current factional outburst which was part of the post-Tsvangirai succession matrix represents a continuity in the culture of factionalism in the opposition.
Historically, this can be notably traced to the party’s vulnerability to factional wear-outs in 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2015.
Initially, Tsvangirai’s failure to resolve the succession debacle marked a definitive to the MDC’s defeat in the coming election.
This inevitably compelled Chamisa’s solicit for a coalesced attack to the ruling. Within the silent community in Chamisa’s structures some alliance parties are intensely hated.
This is because some parties were brought into the Chamisa-alliance resulting the ugly sacrifice of some loyalists who ran the race with Tsvangirai in the MDC of old.
In the same manner, this saw the Generational Consensus dictum being used as a license for the young turks to elbow the old out of the Chamisa faction.
This means that there is a fraction of a disgruntled lot which will take its frustrations to the ballot.
The silent community in the MDC-Alliance; those who have been elbowed out to serve prejudices anchored on ageism might vote otherwise.
Generational Consensus as a new proposition of the MDC-Alliance did not touch the grass-roots of the power pyramid.
It has only remained an online stimulant to drive out those perceived as old and yet not touching base to articulate the justification for this sudden need to change the faces of power.
On the other hand, Dr Thokozane Khupe’s influence particularly in Matabeleland poses as another serious threat to Chamisa’s aspirations to enter the state house.
She might not having a huge following, but every vote counts.
Clearly, at a structural level there is disconnection and conflict of interest within the alliance power pyramid as well as with its immediate competitor (the Khuphe faction).
However, after this election the alliance will crumble because one or two candidates of this or that other party would have would have got their way into parliament – others would have lost – as a result they will not want to be associated with the MDC-Alliance.
Second, the opposition – both Chamisa and Khuphe’s MDCs have demeaned their founding function. Instead being the erstwhile single force of opposition against Zanu-PF both MDCs have to grapple with hate for each other; formulating strategies to dismantle each other.
At the same time, this is giving Zanu-PF a comparative advantage because it is single and united force against a divided front.
As a result, this has a huge impact in terms of producing an election outcome which will be in favour of Chamisa and his alliance cronies.
In the past, the MDC played a crucial regime-change front for Western countries.
However, with the change in the scheme of things the opposition has been dumped following the ensuing diplomatic ties between the ruling and the West since the November transition.
The MDC-Alliance is only left with the Americans and it has no option, but to safeguard the instigation of the Amended 2018 ZIDERA statute.
This is why the Chamisa MDC is beginning to credit the land reform in a bid to appeal to the majority of the beneficiaries of the country’s much adored agrarian revolution.
However, it is clear that this is an eleventh hour proposition for Chamisa to win the hearts which were won by Zanu-PF a long time ago when his party and civic society cronies were castigating the land reform.
The people of Zimbabwe have not forgotten that and cannot be swayed to believe that any MDC has confidence in Black economic empowerment.
In a capsule, Chamisa is in a dilemma to harbour relevance, as such, he has taken a route which might harm his power base considering that he is wounded already. His policy shift to mimic issues that have been lobbied for by the Zanu-PF may create further disgruntlement from his party’s ideological zealots. For instance, his link to the New Patriotic Front also has a deadly bearing to his aspirations to be president of this country.
It is also appalling that MDC was initially conceived as an anti-thesis to what was perceived as ZANU-PF’s absolutism.
However, close to two decades down the line Chamisa’s faction condemns the nomination approval of many political actors by ZEC.
This position is in absolute contradictions with the principle of democracy which encourages multi-party participation in national political processes.
In the same manner, this indicates how Chamisa is stuck in the glory past characterised by MDC’s monopoly of the opposition space in Zimbabwe.
Clearly, this substantiates how Chamisa is a threat to the resurgence of democracy in our country. Evidently, this has an enormous bearing on his part in this coming election. Zimbabweans want a pure democrat.
Any political leader whose party condemns the manifestation of democracy in non-selective terms cannot find much favour with the electorate.
Consequently, the MDC-Alliance is entering into this election against a background internal structural deficits, defaults to its power-base and ambiguities in the expected principles to effectively appeal to its constituency.
Unfortunately, it is too late for Chamisa to rescue himself from this erroneous calamity.
Dr Mahomva is a political-scientist with avid interest classic and modern political theory. He also has a distinct passion around the architecture of governance in Africa and is a literature aficionado.