The dinosaur is a very famous animal in history. But, it is well-known for an entirely very negative reason and this is why it became extinct because it failed to adapt to the changing environment around it.
Political parties and, indeed, business and other social organisations should learn a very good lesson from the history of the dinosaur. Simply put, the lesson is adapt or die!
Some liberation movements in Africa have successfully managed to adapt to the ever changing political dynamics in the global geo-political architecture and as a result, these liberation movements have survived and continue to be very popular to this date.
A snug example of such a liberation movement is Chama Chama Pinduzi (CCP) of Tanzania.
The magic behind the continued popularity and electoral success of this party is very simple.
CCP has managed, over the decades, to continually adapt and re-invent its leadership in tandem with the prevailing geo-political trends.
On this note, I have no choice but to pay glowing tribute to the founding father of the Tanzanian nation; the late great Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Mwalimu Nyerere, for all his other shortcomings on the economic planning front, was a visionary and selfless leader who appreciated that the revolution should not be tied to personalities but to issues.
When it became apparent to him that he had done his best to lead Tanzania, he selflessly and patriotically announced that he was voluntarily stepping down and that someone younger and more energetic was to take over the controls at CCP and, hence, the presidency of the country.
That historic decision by Nyerere was a defining moment in the history of Tanzanian politics.
Once Nyerere had set a good precedent to show that political leadership change can be effected peacefully and within the best interests of the nation, it became very easy for CCP to continue to be adaptive and, thus, to frequently but peacefully change its leadership.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that CCP will achieve another landslide victory in the national elections set to take place next month.
Unlike CCP, Zanu PF has dismally failed to move with the times and, thus, to be adaptive and reform its commandist style of leadership as time moved on.
At independence in April 1980, Zanu PF was essentially a liberation movement with an armed wing called the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla).
It was not a political party in the conventional sense of the definition of a political party.
This was a liberation movement that was used to a top-down commandist style of administering its affairs.
Unfortunately, the Zanu PF of 1980 is essentially the Zanu PF of 2010 with the same style of commandist “Big Man” syndrome where political power is invariably concentrated in the hands of one person.
While this commandist style of leadership might have been necessary to execute the war of liberation, it doesn’t cut in modern-day politics.
Modern-day politics, just like modern-day business, is highly sophisticated, evolutionary and pragmatic.
In contemporary politics, the people are more interested in bread and butter issues, eg, whether the government will be able to provide an investor-friendly environment, whether the government will be able to provide infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals etc.
Today’s electorate is also more concerned about curbing corruption in both the public and private sectors rather than being bombarded with sickening propaganda about how “evil” the imperialists are and how the so-called “illegal sanctions” imposed by the West have crippled Zimbabwe’s economy.
Indeed, today’s electorate, even in the rural areas, has access to alternative media that gives them more balanced and accurate information about events taking place in their country.
Thus, it is entirely worthless and, indeed, self-defeating for the Zanu PF-controlled print and electronic media to, ad nauseam, continue to tell people about who is “in charge” of the country.
The people know that Zanu PF did not volunteer to share power with the MDC in the inclusive government.
The people know that Zanu PF was beaten, hands down, by the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during the harmonised elections that were held on March 29, 2008.
The people of Zimbabwe clearly know who won the presidential elections on March 29, 2008.
The people of Zimbabwe are not stupid and, therefore, they should not be taken for granted.
The MDC led by PM Tsvangirai is a very young but extremely vibrant political party.
It has managed to survive a crude and brutal physical clampdown by Zanu PF since its formation in 1999.
Denied any space to openly campaign and, thus, freely reach out to the electorate, the MDC has still managed to outperform and outmanoeuvre Zanu PF where it matters most, ie, by winning the battle for the minds and hearts of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.
In a short 11 years since its formation, the MDC has outsmarted Zanu PF and it has emerged as the biggest and most popular political party in Zimbabwe by the sheer size of its support base throughout the length and breadth of Zimbabwe.
The thousands of people who thronged the Gokwe grounds on Saturday, September 11, 2010 to celebrate 11 years of the formation of the MDC bear testimony to the breathtaking and increasing popularity of the MDC.
Those thousands of people were not bussed and/or force-marched to attend the celebrations of the biggest political party in Zimbabwe.
They came willingly and they used their own resources to do so.
They came in their masses and in their thousands because they know that the salvation of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of the MDC and no other political party.
The people have spoken; and they will continue to speak. Zanu PF will never win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe now or in the foreseeable future.
Political turncoats and unprincipled opportunists will continue to shout down the MDC. We expect these miserable souls to continue doing so because they have nothing else viable to do with their lives.
They are a small group of losers and no-hopers who, apparently, have to continue to sing for their supper.
Like it or not, the MDC is the only game in town!
Obert Gutu is an MDC-T National Information and Publicity Committee member, Senator for Chisipite and Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs