THE return to the fore of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai following a spate of illness has brought with it a healthy dosage of confidence in the opposition seeking to eject President Robert Mugabe from power in the crucial 2018 elections.
Quite clearly, in Tsvangirai’s absence, the opposition coalition, and the MDC-T in particular, would have looked out of sorts as their leader battled cancer of the colon.
But what this lean moment has shown is the need to start grooming leadership, and move away from the cancer afflicting Zanu PF — that of lack of leadership renewal.
Handing down the baton is a natural course of life because no man will live forever, but political parties must successfully outlive their founders. Many, however, are afflicted with the personality cult to such an extent that when the founding leader finally bows out, they go with their party.
It is, therefore, imperative for opposition leaders to be conscious of the fact that succession is not, and should not, be accidental. In fact, succession should not be left to chance, but should be carefully planned for continuity and stability purposes.
It must be properly planned for. The fear that Tsvangirai’s absence had stirred merely demonstrates that perhaps no one is able to fill in his big shoes.
Indeed, the opposition would want Zimbabweans to believe that Tsvangirai is their best foot forward, but we urge them to reflect seriously, as this means that the succession matrix must be plotted now. New leaders must be groomed to eventually take over.
It is good that Tsvangirai is a veteran politician who inspires confidence, which is one of the reasons why he assumed leadership of the opposition coalition.
But that culture of strong and inspiration leadership must be adopted as the norm, so that it ceases to be a one-horse race simply because other potential leaders were never groomed.
Political parties should be eager to create strong institutions as opposed to an all-powerful leader. We believe strong institutions endure and benefit all citizens yet all-powerful leaders with all power concentrated on the few creates dictatorship.
After so many years of fighting Zanu PF, Tsvangirai has accumulated significant experience and knowledge, which other members of his party, particularly those in leadership, need.
And this could be the right time to share such knowledge and experience as the party prepares for the future.
Zimbabweans should be reminded of their folly when they created an all-powerful Mugabe. Now he thinks he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.
Mugabe’s I, me and myself attitude is self-serving, nauseating and destructive of the national agenda.
The opposition should be warned that Zimbabweans no longer want anything like this anymore, and their support at the next election is premised on this one condition.