Watching the political developments in the country, I am reminded of my high school history teacher, Simba Mutero, and the way he characterised how the First World War evolved and how it was eventually triggered.
Develop me with Tapiwa Gomo
When describing the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in 1914, Mutero used to tell us that it was like dry firewood was ready at the fireplace, including grass and paraffin and all that was needed to trigger the fire and send the world into war was a lighter.
The world was ready for a war, but it needed an excuse to pull the first trigger.
On June 28, 1914, Ferdinand and his wife were killed in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip.
Tensions were building up and simmering for a while among the great powers, but it was the assassination that led to a chain of events that eventually triggered World War I.
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and this caused the central powers, which included Germany and Austria-Hungary and Serbia’s allies, to declare war on each other, resulting in World War I.
Looking at the political situation in our beloved country, one can’t resist drawing comparisons with the First World War, of course not in terms of global significance but how ripe the situation is for chance.
The current President, Robert Mugabe, will be 94 years next year when the nation goes to the polls.
His party members are tearing each other apart and the party is weakening every day.
Without stability and predictability, its future is no longer certain.
The calls for a female Vice-President suggest that there may be three of those in the party, which complicates the succession drama.
To renew leadership or face its demise are the only options available to the ruling party.
Similarly, the leader of the main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been frequenting the hospital the better part of this year, which means his party has been deprived of opportunities to utilise its main political brand to reach out to the people this year.
Just like Zanu PF, the MDC-T, too, have long adopted the three vice-presidents model, which has resulted in tensions in the party, scattering the prospects of a predictable succession plan. That lack of clarity will be the seed for chaos.
None of the leaders of the two main political parties are willing to step down or slow down and allow new blood to take over the reins of their party.
The political shenanigans befalling the different political parties can be absorbing and despairing, but render one oblivious of the rapidly fading forces of autocracy in our midst.
Both Zanu PF and the MDC-T need leadership renewal if Zimbabwe is to depend on them in the short-term.
Or rather, Zimbabwe needs leadership renewal, perhaps outside these parties, if the country is to rise again. In the event of a vacuum, who is out there ready to step in?
One thing that cannot be denied at this particular moment is that change is going to happen at the instigation of both nature and human activity.
Nature dictates and regulates all objects within its spectra and no amount of human activity can adjust its course.
While human political activity outside the ruling party has weakened and faded in significance, the only remaining and meaningful opposition is within the ruling party.
The ruling party is choking and denying itself the lifelines and blocking blood flow to all its veins and arteries.
At this rate, it is only a matter of time before its demise becomes the certain destination.
The opposition, on their part, have not shown the convincing levels of preparedness to take over and govern once the ruling system tumbles.
They lack the structures capable of rising to the occasion and taking over the country once the ruling party is ejected from power by its own self-destructing tendencies.
Sadly, these are the parties in which our progress is politically detained and yet they today face an invertible collapse and demise.
It is for these reasons that when change finally knocks on our political doors, it may come unexpectedly and when we are not ready to embrace it because of our fixation to the insignificant and yet intriguing internal politics of Zanu PF, the MDC and their alliances.
Change will come already orphaned without anyone ready to foster it.
This is not because we don’t have capable people, but our politics favours an autocratic system and not those who have the skills and genuine determination to steer the country to the rails of development and prosperity.
Our people favour those politicians who bring short-term gifts, instead of long-term development plans.
The people capable of taking over the country, sadly, do not appeal to the electorate.
But again, will that political appeal be necessary to fill the void?
Perhaps it is time the likes of Simba Makoni, Nkosana Moyo, Shingi Munyeza, Arthur Mutambara and those who are part of the National Transitional Authority start working together and strengthen their structures as a standby arrangement in the event of a void.