IT is said a picture tells a thousand words. We couldn’t agree more.
Readers, we are sure can recall the picture of mdc-t leaders among them party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary general Mr Tendai Biti, and organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa engrossed in the zanu-pf election manifesto prior to addressing their party’s rally in Mhondoro in the run-up to last year’s harmonised elections.
zanu-pf immediately latched onto the image which it splashed on billboards across the city and in newspaper adverts with the legend, “Our manifesto has excited everyone!’’
And that moment which was frozen by our photographer John Manzongo for posterity, was a microcosm of what was happening in many a home, factory or office where people naturally found the zanu-pf message more appealing and expressed themselves as such at the ballot giving zanu-pf a victory bigger than its inaugural 1980 landslide.
It was refreshing to hear mdc-t secretary general Mr Tendai Biti of the “mutating ballots’’ fame say as much at a SAPES Policy Dialogue last Friday where he admitted his party lost fairly to zanu-pf on the strength of the revolutionary party’s superior policies and well crafted campaign message that resonated with voters. Mr Biti blamed mdc-t’s dismal performance on lack of feasible and marketable policies saying the “Mugabe must go’’ mantra had become stale.
“Zanu in the last election had a very simple message, ‘bhora mugedhi’. Even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi. Perhaps we were too sophisticated, but what was our message because the message of change of 2000 is not the message for now?’’ Biti said.
“We were selling hopes and dreams when zanu-pf was selling practical realities. ‘We (zanu-pf) are going to give you a farm’, it’s there. ‘We are going to give you $5 000 through (Saviour) Kasukuwere’s ministry’.”
“How do we transit and balance the message of hope with the message of immediate delivery? I think we didn’t do well in 2013 (elections). A message is a slogan, it’s mascara and it’s a makeup. What is the substance? This is where we need to articulate an alternative value system.
“What was our position on indigenisation? We had JUICE, yes, it was good but trying to explain it to mai Ezra in Chiendambuya, you understand what I am saying? So the issue of articulating an alternative discourse which is walked and lived is very important,” Mr Biti said.
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
The mdc-t long failed to prove it is a viable alternative to zanu-pf opting to oppose zanu-pf policies for the sake of opposing; the opposition extending to opposing even our right to self determination.
What mdc-t leaders forgot was that while lumpen elements would be swayed by the party’s empty slogans, Zimbabwe is a highly literate society with discerning voters grounded in the country’s revolutionary legacy.
Therein lies the answer to the MDC-t’s consecutive losses to zanu-PF. It is not the alleged rigging that Tsvangirai loves to harp about, let alone the Israeli irrigation company Nikuv that Tsvangirai conveniently turned into a scapegoat to divert attention from his failure as a leader.
The contestation in mdc-t today is a culmination of the realisation that the opposition party has been losing because of not only a week leader but a weak message.
We hope those who chose to buy mdc-t’s scandalous claims on our harmonised elections have got it from the horse’s mouth.
No election has ever been stolen in Zimbabwe but a foreign created and funded, clueless, directionless opposition party has been consistently rejected by the electorate.
Indeed outgoing British ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Deborah Bronnert can attest to this having had to ask for an apology from the mdc-t which misled her on the alleged rigging to the extent of reportedly causing her recall.
The mdc-t has since issued an apology to Ms Bronnert which apology the party should also extend not only to zanu-pf whose hard-earned victory it tried to soil but also to the generality of Zimbabweans who have had to endure over a decade of ruinous sanctions that westerners tried to justify using the mdc-t’s ridiculous claims of election rigging.
Zimbabweans deserve the apology more than Bronnert.