By MUGOVE TAFIRENYIKA in Harare
STILL battered and bruised from last month’s by-elections, two MDC senior officials have renewed calls for Zimbabwe’s opposition to end their futile rivalries and approach next year’s crucial national polls as a bloc.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the party’s vice president Elias Mudzuri and national chairman Morgen Komichi said unity of the opposition was key if they were to have any chance against Zanu PF in the fast approaching 2023 national elections.
Komichi said while inclusive national dialogue remained the best way forward for Zimbabwe, it was important for the opposition to reconcile itself with the fact that there would be elections next year.
In that regard, he described as “stupid” the current “sad reality” of opposition parties going solo and competing against each other in elections, adding ruefully that this would lead to only one outcome in 2023 — a heavy shellacking by Zanu PF.
“The elections will be there next year and it will be foolhardy for the opposition to go into those elections in their current fractured nature.
“Under the circumstances, we all have no capacity to challenge Zanu PF and that is why we say we really have no option but to swallow our pride and find each other.
“We must never make the mistake of thinking all is well. So, we must try by all means to field one presidential candidate that we will all agree upon,” Komichi told the Daily News.
“We must not divide our vote as the opposition. We know a lot of the opposition political parties are not able to attract any meaningful support.
“But all votes are important and can make a difference if they are put in a common basket.
“We have not discussed the issue of engaging others as a party, but I know there is no one opposed to this, and from the experience we have had in coming up with the MDC Alliance, I know it would not be difficult to work with the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC),” Komichi added.
“We did it in 2018 when we came up with the MDC Alliance and we all voted for one presidential candidate.
“We also all saw how competitive we were in those elections. That is what we must do again in 2023,” he also said.
The MDC Alliance in 2018 was a coalition of seven political parties which backed the candidature of CCC leader Nelson Chamisa — who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the keenly followed presidential election that year.
However, Komichi reiterated that national dialogue which would lead to the formation of another government of national unity (GNU) in the country remained the best option to extricate Zimbabwe from its myriad challenges.
“The people of Zimbabwe have an opportunity to unite for the economy of this country because we have suffered for a very long time.
“It is very prudent for opposition political parties and Zanu PF to unite and go for national dialogue and agree to put the love for political power aside and make sure they come up with something that will benefit ordinary Zimbabweans.
“Zimbabweans are suffering while politicians are fighting among themselves. The national dialogue that is ideal must be all inclusive — involving labour, churches, women, youth and the business community,” Komichi added.
On his part, Mudzuri also said opposition leaders needed to swallow their pride and engage each other ahead of 2023.
“Individualism is what is killing us as the opposition, but I would suggest that we all need to swallow our pride and respect each other so that we engage.
“It is not really about us as the political leaders, but the people we lead. We must do what the people are demanding, that we unite. Not only as opposition parties, but as a nation.
“As the opposition, we must unite and build strong institutions that will continue even after we are all gone and that is why it must never be about individuals.
“If we do not unite, we are not going anywhere as far as the 2023 elections are concerned,” Mudzuri said.
All this comes after former MDC national chairperson Lovemore Moyo also recently warned the opposition against exhibiting a “Big Brother mentality” towards each other.
Moyo, who now leads the United Movement for Devolution (UMD), warned the opposition against repeating the “mistake” that the late MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai made in August 2017 when he assumed the role of “leader” of the MDC Alliance at its formation.
“From the UMD perspective, there is a need for opposition collaboration or a united front to confront Zanu PF as a collective in the 2023 harmonised general elections.
“This is necessary and uncontested. As UMD, we still hold the same view that a united opposition stands a greater opportunity to defeat the Zanu PF regime in the 2023 plebiscite.
“History has taught us that every vote counts and that there is no smaller or bigger vote in politics,” Moyo told the Daily News’s sister publication, the Daily News On Sunday recently.
“As things stand, in some constituencies and wards we are represented by a minority public representative where a majority opposition split its votes, thus losing a parliamentary seat to a minority votes holder.
“In short, unity matters, and it’s not about individuals and organisations joining bigger organisations, but mutual understanding and sharing of the same vision, mission and objectives.
“It’s very unfortunate that in the 21st century we still exhibit bullying tactics which are counterproductive, retrogressive and repellent,” Moyo further told the Daily News On Sunday.
“The mentality that those who want unity must abandon their political parties and organisations to join a particular party is indeed in bad taste.
“Actually, it has been proven that the Big Brother mentality does not work in a multi-party democracy and will never work. Instead, only respect, equality and compromise can produce positive outcomes.
“Unity is about a collective effort of like-minded people agreeing to work together towards achieving common goals,” Moyo added.
Moyo said he hoped that the calls for “genuine” unity among opposition parties would become a reality ahead of next year’s crucial elections.
“I respectfully pray and hope for the establishment of a united opposition in order to give our people a fighting chance to vote Zanu PF out of power, in order to attain total freedom, equality, justice, development and economic prosperity.
“The success in uniting opposition parties and other stakeholders will largely depend on the political characters involved and the maturity of the current opposition leaders.
“All things being equal, a united opposition is desirable and still remains a possibility in the 2023 plebiscite,” Moyo also told the Daily News On Sunday.