Zimbabwe’s opposition parties seem to be clueless on how to wrestle power from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party in the 2018 national elections following their lacklustre performance in the June 10 parliamentary by-elections.
The opposition parties are employing uncoordinated tactics in their bid to win the hearts of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Despite ignoring calls by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party to boycott the June 10th parliamentary by-elections for lack of democratic reforms, opposition parties that participated in those polls like Transform Zimbabwe seem to have agreed with the MDC that the electoral playing field remains tilted in favor of Zanu PF.
Transform Zimbabwe spokesperson Sungai Mazando says recent polls have taught them that more needs to be done in terms of creating a level electoral playing field ahead of any elections.
Mazando says what is now needed is for all democratic forces to work together and stage protests to demand reforms ahead of future elections.
MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora says Zimbabweans can dislodge Zanu PF from power if they form a grand coalition.
Local people like Livingstone Pambai of Harare’s Chisipite low density suburb say former Vice President Joyce Mujuru should also be part of a grand coalition being proposed by MDC-T.
MDC Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume says the engagement process must start now.
But National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku says there are contestations of ideas among the existing opposition figures in the country at the moment, adding that the idea of a grand coalition will not work in Zimbabwe at this point in time.
Madhuku says his NCA will not be part to any coalition at least for now.
Madhuku adds that the existence of several parties is important in strengthening the country’s democracy.
Solomon Makwati, who contested the just-ended polls as a Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe candidate for the Kambuzuma parliamentary seat, notes that a coalition for elections has its advantages and disadvantages.
But a member of the Zimbabwe First party, Booker Mangunda, says political parties should work for the betterment of the country’s economy.
Zapu vice president, Emilia Mukarakatirwa, says opposition parties should form a grand coalition before the 2018 general elections in order to defeat Zanu PF.
Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi of the Media Center says opposition parties are continuously losing elections because they do not have enough resources to mount a strong campaign against Zanu PF which gets the lion’s share under the Political Parties Finance Act.
Mudzengi believes that even if the proposed grand coalition is mooted, the united front of democrats will not win the polls in the absence of key reforms.
Until Zimbabwe’s opposition parties start to speak with one voice, Mr. Mugabe’s party will continue to enjoy the benefits of their discord by holding onto power.