Zim sleep-walking into 2018 polls


It has almost been two months since I last wrote an opinion piece. With this well-needed break, I had the opportunity to actively listen to diverse conversations concerning Zimbabwe across all media platforms.

BY Whitlaw Mugwiji

If truth be told, I cannot say the conversations were a pleasure to my ears. We have less than a year into the crunch 2018 elections, yet people are discussing nothing but Zanu PF factionalism. Dear Zimbabwe, I am here to remind you that Zanu PF’s weaknesses do not translate into the opposition’s strengths.

Time to put the house in order

Sun Tzu says “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”. Whilst this is true, it does not mean we must be lackadaisical in our own preparations. We have a big battle before us next year.

I am sure if everyone understood the meaning of that battle; we would set aside our petty differences and finalise the coalition. The 2018 elections are not just about defeating President Robert Mugabe, but about improving the lives of ordinary citizens.

This is a point which some democrats seem to miss. They would rather focus on the democratic deficiencies in the MDC-T. We all know, Morgan Tsvangirai is no saint, but must we throw away the baby with the bath water? I am reminded of Winston Churchill when he said “if Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons”. This is the attitude the opposition must embrace; enemy of my enemy is a potential ally.

Zanu PF might be weak, but divided and fighting among ourselves, we are even weaker. At least, we owe it to our people, let us unite and give them hope and a fighting chance next year.

Perhaps, we could learn from the resistance that fought against Hitler’s Germany. Capitalists from the West and communists from the East, joined hands and fought against Hitler. They did not share a common vision for Germany’s future, yet they worked together. The only task before them was to defeat Nazi Germany.

We too can put aside our petty differences and fight our common enemy Zanu PF. If need be, we can resume our petty squabbles after the victory celebrations.

Sleeping intellectuals, opinion-makers

The crisis in the opposition movement is deeper than what meets the eye. Yes, we have lack of unity and resources in the opposition, but I contend that the crisis is exacerbated by sleeping intellectuals. Even, Nathaniel Manheru’s last piece, titled Adieus and Hello Zimbabwe could not wake them up.

He could not have been more explicit, yet our intellectuals and opinion-makers took no notice. He plainly bragged how they were able to counter the opposition’s hegemony over intellectuals.

Intellectuals and opinion-makers in their stupor have focused their attention on Zanu PF factionalism. Unwittingly, allowing Zanu PF to set the agenda for national discourse. Child prostitution, poverty, unemployment, lack of medicines and massive corruption, now play second fiddle to Zanu PF factionalism. Surely, we have normalised the abnormal.

I doubt I will be able to succeed where Manheru failed. But I hope there are a few vigilant intellectuals and opinion-makers who will take heed and rise to the occasion.

We cannot afford to sleep-walk into the 2018 elections. Intellectuals and opinion-makers, it is your responsibility to set the right agenda for public discourse.

For too long we have engrossed ourselves in Zanu PF factionalism; choosing sides between two monsters. Whether one chooses heads or tails it is still the same coin. To the ordinary citizen, there is absolutely no difference between a G40 and a Lacoste, more so under Mugabe. Let Zanu PF worry about its own internal dynamics, and let us work on reorganisation and uniting our people for change.

We all have a party to play

But change is not going to come on a silver platter; we all must get down to work. I have heard some people complaining that the opposition is not doing enough campaigns in the rural areas. Quite, a legitimate concern, I am sure a lot of people agree with this view.

However, in as much as this view is true, I strongly believe, it is everyone’s responsibility to talk to their own relatives in rural areas. Vakuru vanoti hakuna mombe inofurira ivete (each cow must graze for itself).

In order to move the country forward everyone has a part to play. In my humble view, those in the near-diaspora have a responsibility to register and eventually vote next year.

The far-diaspora must help fund the struggle, as Jalil Muntaqim says “we are our own liberators”. We do not have to pay large sums of money, a dollar or $5 every month per individual can oil the opposition machinery in no time.

But perhaps before people can pour their hard-earned money, the opposition needs to finalise on the coalition. And the coalition

in-turn needs to put into place, proper structures that enhance financial transparency and accountability.

2018 elections it is do or die

Sun Tzu says “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”. We can either fail to prepare or prepare to fail because 2018 elections are won or lost by the actions we take today.

Let this be a clarion call to all those who want to see change. Mugabe and his Zanu PF cabal have shown time and again that they are incapable of resuscitating the economy and reviving the fortunes of our motherland. Come 2018 elections; the choice is ours to make; to do or die, to swim or to sink.

lWhitlaw Mugwiji writes in his personal capacity


  1. This a very sober reflection. Opposition yedu inoita seine ma demons chaiwo. I don’t if they bewitched by ZANU itself or they are an extension of the same and its meant to give a false picture of multipartyism! I loathe how they like to fight among themselves especially when ZANU is also fighting itself. In 2014, Mujuru’s expulsion was closely followed by the Mandel Resolution (PDP). Today, Lacoste akasungwa dzakondo but look-Khupe pulling her own direction. Biti and Moyo clutching at each other’s throat! I f this is infiltration then huh rwendo rwekutambura rwuchipo vana veZimbabwe.

  2. It looks like the problems besetting Zanu PF are the same problems the opposition is facing. The underlying theme seems to be greedy, power greedy. In Zanu PF they are all fighting for Mugabe’s power and in opposition circles they are imagining the power and fighting for it too.

  3. I have always said the 2013 elections were not rigged, but the opposition took the electorate for granted and did very little campaigning. If only we could have the same campaigning and enthusiasm we saw in 2008, then and only then can the opposition have a fair shot at restoring our dignity. Unfortunately the GNU got people to have a taste of power and now prepared to do anything to get into power, including sacrificing US on the alter. Sadly, little do they realize they can not get into power without winning us over, to go and vote for them.

  4. Well said Mr Writer, Coalition has been a stumbling block as people seek to protect their own interests vamwe vachiti Matebeleland no need for coalition as if they own it. Everyone in today’s politics is greedy, there is no one with the people at heart incl Nkosana Moyo , Mujuru herself vese na Biti naTsvangirai wacho. These do or die elections should bring us CHANGE THAT IS CERTAIN…That’s exactly what we need as Zimbabweans, address bread and butter issues not positioning yourselves. Unemployment, Roads, Financial Sector, Health zvakawanda kana pekugara chaipo pakanaka

  5. Mugwinji don’t take everyone in the far or near diaspora as supporters of the clueless opposition in Zimbabwe. Who out there would part with his hard earned cash would sent money to a disorganised coalition, who will be accountable with that money if it is misused who do you ask, better give it to ZANU (PF) with better structures.

    • Even you Mafirakureva knows that the majority of diasporans are opposition supporters. And people are ready to sponsor the struggle. ZANU does not have any structures except for Grace and Mugabe.

    • If Nkosana Moyo takes on a blitz campaign of some sort soon enough he might just turn the odds that are currently against him in his favour.

  6. Comment…we are really facing greed power hungry, opportunist who call them self leaders while they are pushing their own agendas e.g makhuphe , majuru it’s so painful

  7. When you are divided you are conquered.

    If you want DisGrace continuing her rampage do nothing let them keep the focus on themselves and the sheep will follow them

    to the 5% who are leaders in Zimbabwe and to the next 15% who are their valued teamleaders gather your strength and get out there

    Poverty, education,health are only symptoms of the rot at the core of this government it would not have taken hold if hatred had not been given rule.

    Return to Jesus love one another and pray

  8. Comment…Yes it’s true mupfanha Marujata kumba all the opposition leaders are cruel they are fighting for their interests than anybody else’s.

    The coalition must have a clearly spelt out agreement.I think leaders of the opposition must sit down and come out with an independent leadership that will contest next year’s elections representing all the opposition parties.Their mandate if they win the ballot must be clearly defined, that is to say if they win they must deal with the implementation of electoral reforms, deal with the issue of delimitation of constituencies especially mergering them and come up with at most 100 constituencies,abolish the senate, remove all ghost workers on government’s pay roll, come up with a new voters’ roll.For a start if they can manage this at a period of atleast two years and then hold fresh elections where anyone who wishes will contest and all the opposition resumes their rivalry.

    I think that is the only way we can get out of this quagmire.We have a lot of luminaries who have the spine and pedigree to lead this coalition,trustworthy businessmen in the mould of Strive Masiyiwa comes to mind and can be persuaded to come and lead this coalition.Biko just for the sake of my people.

    As long as people think that president Tsvangirai must lead the better for zanu pf, there will be discord until election time.Opposition parties must coalesce to elect the leadership not affiliated to any of the opposition parties.

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