The past two weeks have all but shown that getting opposition political parties to form a coalition ahead of the next elections may not be possible, with the re-emergence of grandstanding and unhelpful rhetoric.
All parties have a right to say they think their leaders are the best candidates to lead the envisaged coalition, but the manner it is being done shows that these opposition parties are further apart than can ever be imagined.
MDC-T deputy president, Nelson Chamisa recently said his party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was the natural leader to lead the coalition, while Zimbabwe People First official, Dzikamai Mavhaire said his leader, Joice Mujuru is the ultimate coalition leader.
These are not off-the-cuff statements, but rather they reveal a cold and calculating political machinery, where opposition parties are developing a hard-line stance of either it being their way or the high way.
It is important to point out that neither Mujuru nor Tsvangirai are God-ordained to lead the opposition.
That Tsvangirai has “travelled with the people for 17 years”, as Chamisa says, does not give him a monopoly over the opposition.
Such statements only poison relations between the parties, create mistrust and ultimately will lead to the stillbirth of a coalition – that many see as the only hope to drag Zimbabwe out of this mess.
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Mavhaire’s statements are infantile to say the least and are definitely not meant to build, as his party slogan says, but rather to destroy relations with the MDC-T. Mavhaire is casting aspersions on Tsvangirai and the MDC-T can only respond in kind.
If this is the path to a coalition, then the opposition is doomed to a quarrelling lot, who cannot look past their egos.
There is absolutely no need for all this posturing and grandstanding and if the opposition are not keen on uniting, then they should just come out in the open and say so. But we have seen how fatal such arrogance is and when the next elections are lost, the opposition have no one to blame, but themselves.
In 2008, the opposition squandered a golden opportunity to unite, as they squabbled over positions.
Had they acted like grown-ups and looked beyond narrow selfish interests, they probably would have won that election outright.
The same scenario played out again in 2013, where they probably would have been stronger if there was a coalition, but again they blew the chance.
If left unchecked, 2018 might be another wasted opportunity for the opposition, as narrow interests come ahead of the bigger picture.
If the opposition fail to unite and lose the 2018 elections, then they too — all of them — need to be consigned to the dustbin of history, as an experiment that went horribly wrong.
Just as we ask of Zanu PF, we ask of the opposition: Look beyond parochial interests and put the nation first, for once.