The opposition MDC Alliance has dispatched three envoys – Messrs Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube – to the West in a move that one newspaper billed as courting US President Donald Trump “to ratchet up international pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to implement electoral reforms and level the political playing field ahead of next year’s general elections”.
That is a euphemism for campaigning for Zimbabwe’s continued isolation, despite recent developments and popular change of Government witnessed recently.
Are we surprised by this latest development?
Did the nation expect better from the opposition?
Let us explain.
The opposition MDC has always been associated with the West, which has been seeking regime change in Zimbabwe and reversal of the country’s gains of independence. Countries such as Britain and the United States of America, aided by their cousins in the Commonwealth and European Union, sponsored the opposition in a fruitless bid to unseat former President Mugabe for the “crime” of undertaking the land reform programme.
Thankfully, the West did not succeed and instead Cde Mugabe was removed in a self-correcting exercise by the revolutionary party, Zanu-PF. His removal set Zimbabwe on a historic transition process.
It is a process that could as well have ushered in new politics altogether and we saw moves by the opposition appearing to angle for inclusion in some hybrid government. We are not sure whether this was pragmatic or whether indeed there had been significant consideration of that option.
What is critical though is that at his inauguration, President Mnangagwa invited opposition leaders to the historic event, a sure sign that he was open to a new politics of dialogue and tolerance.
One report even cited Special Advisor to the President, Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa, as revealing that Zimbabwe’s new leader had wanted to include some ministers from the opposition only for Mr Tsvangirai to scuttle the prospect because he had wanted a juicy serving of power himself. The foray into the West by Mr Tsvangirai’s Three Musketeers is not surprising because they are beating a well-worn path.
But for his affliction Mr Tsvangirai could as well have led this shameful expedition, which primarily is anchored on convincing the Western community to maintain frosty relations with Zimbabwe.
The opposition has always pushed for Zimbabwe’s isolation and punishment through illegal sanctions. These sanctions and hostile actions have led to the suffering of the people, keeping alive the opposition hope to reap protest votes. The MDC Alliance appears keen on maintaining that ruinous template. The other side of lobbying for sanctions is the opposition extending a begging bowl to the Western governments.
With elections coming as scheduled next year, we understand the broke opposition’s needy position. But on the whole, we are surprised that the opposition is still stuck in its old games.
We expected better in a new post-Mugabe as era; there is more than enough room to talk among Zimbabweans. The issues of the so-called reforms, which the opposition should have negotiated in the previous inclusive era before the 2013 elections, are in-house matters that foreigners will not solve. How the opposition seeks to leverage coercive foreign power betrays a disturbing trait of a dangerous and unpatriotic political organisation.