THE Bikita West by-election is a huge wake-up call for the opposition, that defeating Zanu PF in the upcoming general elections next year will not be a stroll in the park.
Comment: NewsDay Editor
There may have been voter intimidation and vote-buying, but this is the reality prevailing in the country and the opposition should be coming up with strategies of how to deal with this.
The only way the opposition can keep Zanu PF honest in the next election is by starting to prepare now for the 2018 elections.
An ad hoc approach to elections will not work, as the opposition needs long-term strategies of how to handle Zanu PF, which long began preparations for the 2018 general elections.
If there is going to be a coalition, then the structures should be set up now with campaigning beginning.
If not, then the respective parties should start putting in place structures and selling their candidates, instead of waiting until next year.
Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF, after this defeat in the Bikita West by-election, has no time to lick its wounds, but should hold a quick post mortem and see what they got wrong and work on improving in this regard.
This is not the time for ZimPF to start feeling sorry for themselves, but they need to regroup quickly and find means to confront the ruling party.
For critics, the defeat shows ZimPF’s weaknesses, but in reality, winning that seat was beyond them, they just had too much against them.
Discussions about the coalition also marred the Bikita West by-election.
Other parties like the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T should also look at the by-election to find where ZimPF lost it and use the information for their own growth.
There is also a question of MDC-T not contesting elections until there are reforms, a strategy few would say is working, as nobody seems to know what it seeks to achieve.
Zanu PF is happy to continue holding by-elections, as it is in perpetual campaign mode, yet MDC-T’s visibility is diminished.
Demanding reforms is a good idea, but Zanu PF is unwilling to implement reforms, meaning there is a stalemate.
It is clear from Bikita West, that no matter how this is unpalatable for many, Zanu PF has considerable amount of support and will not be wished away at the next elections.
This means the opposition has its work cut out for, it if it is to make a mark next year.
What is important is planning and going on the onslaught now.
If they wait until next year to start campaigning and being visible, we can as well prepare for five more years of Zanu PF.