Opposition implosion renders them irrelevant ahead of 2028 elections Nelson Chamisa

Ranga Mataire-Group Political Editor

AS things stand, there is nothing under Zimbabwe’s sun that will stand in the way of Zanu PF electoral triumph in 2028.

The implosion in the main opposition party, CCC, with several factions fighting to outdo each other to position themselves as the legitimate leadership is likely to remain a never ending political theatre.

The political theatre or rather comedy seems to have no end in sight as individuals are frantically fighting to outdo each other as legitimate heirs of the party following the abrupt resignation of Nelson Chamisa.

On one hand we have the faction led by Sengezo Tshabangu that recalled CCC legislators that he claimed had ceased being members. This triggered by-elections, which were won by Zanu PF.

On the other side is Promise Mkwananzi and a coterie of close Chamisa allies insisting that they are the legitimate CCC members.

In a funny crooked kind of way, Mkwananzi and his gang say that the politician-cum pastor Chamisa, was still their leader despite his public resignation.

The general members, legislators and councillors are in a quandary. They do not know which direction to take.

Mkwananzi claims to be getting instructions from Chamisa. No one is making this up. This is actually happening in a party that fashions itself as a democratic alternative to the governing Zanu PF party.

In a counter move to the Mkwananzi group, Tshabangu issued a statement accepting the resignation of Chamisa and said the CCC was preparing for a congress to usher in new leadership. 

He even presented a list of party nominees for senatorial positions to Parliament.

As if this was not enough drama to dampen even an ardent opposition supporter, senior CCC leaders who during campaigns took a back seat, suddenly came out of hibernation to pour scorn on Chamisa’s autocratic leadership style.

Professor Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kakore said they will alternate leadership of the party for 90 days each until a congress is held. 

Their gripe: Chamisa’s attempt to turn the party into a private entity by squashing dissenting voices. Only him and the party spokesperson had legitimate positions while the rest were mere change champions.

“We must do while in opposition things we are expected to do when we get into government, not running an autocratic, an authoritarian, theocratic opposition then expect sincere genuine people to believe that once in power, you no longer believe in autocracy and theocracy,” said Prof Ncube, in a jibe many deduced as aimed at Chamisa.

Many doubt the opposition’s capacity to bury their differences in time for the 2028 harmonised elections.

It is looking very unlikely for the feuding factions to find each other. 

Even if Chamisa were to form another political entity, chances are that the outfit would be weak and inconsequential as it will likely be composed of loyalists who lack the political experience possessed of his erstwhile senior colleagues.

Although Prof Ncube referred to attempts by Chamisa’s to centralise power as the major cause of the rift, observers believe that the differences run deeper than what is outplaying in public.

At the centre of the rift is the accountability of donated funds.

The opaqueness in which Chamisa ran the CCC, made it difficult to account for how the funds were used.

“The differences are not necessarily ideological. It is more about eating the cake alone. It has also to do with personality clashes in which Chamisa’s religious beliefs seem to be having the better of him to the extent of wanting to impose them on every member,” one political analyst, Takaedza Nyawanza said.

It is a never ending fiasco that has bolstered the ruling Zanu PF to focus on delivering its election promises. 

The ruling party believes that with the economy kicking, the opposition has no chance of making it in the 2028 harmonised elections.

In the aftermath of the 2023 harmonised elections, the Zanu-PF Government is focused on delivering its electoral promises on infrastructural development across the country.

These include roads, dams, schools, health facilities and provision of social services to citizens. 

The ruling party made its intent to deliver on its promises at its annual conference held late last year in Gweru.

In its Central Committee report, Zanu PF says its Government “will indeed deliver on its promises it has made to the people and will continue its mission of transforming the loving standards of the entire nation, with the focus on accelerating the welfare of those in rural communities and at the same time, not neglecting the concerns of those in urban areas who have endured poor service delivery for too long.”

The report further states that resources would be availed towards modernisation of health, education, arts sectors as well as having a total turnaround and ensuring massive improvement in the daily lives of the people.

To its credit, the Second Republic has so far embarked on at least 7 000 development projects with 5 000 of the projects having been implemented since 2018 across the country. The projects were implemented both in urban and rural areas in line with the objectives of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Already this year, Government has embarked on the rehabilitation and refurbishment of urban roads. This follows a Cabinet decision on February 10, 2021 that declared all roads a state of national disaster.

With the impending 44th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit scheduled for August, the country is witnessing a significant transformation in its road infrastructure.

Works have already started in the capital Harare, with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development launching a comprehensive road rehabilitation exercise, targeting Julius Nyerere Way and 40 other major roads to ensure the efficient flow of traffic delegates and citizens during the summit.

The road rehabilitation exercise in Harare is not just about improving the city’s aesthetic appeal but is also a critical component of the country’s broader economic development and connectivity strategy.

Government sees infrastructure development as a key driver of economic growth. Work has already been completed in refurbishing the National Heroes Acre access roads.

The national shrine is one of the major attractions for foreign dignitaries visiting the country.

President Mnangagwa is expected to assume the chairmanship of the regional body SADC in August and one cannot underestimate the economic spin-offs to be accrued from hosting such a big event. 

In essence, the Zanu PF Government only needs to strike the right economic cords to completely render opposition political parties irrelevant.

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