A wonderful opportunity to build a patriotic opposition beckons

The crisis in Zimbabwe’s main opposition the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) suddenly presents a fantastic opportunity to rebuild something beautiful from these smouldering ashes.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” someone once said.

The crisis in Zimbabwe’s main opposition the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) suddenly presents a fantastic opportunity to rebuild something beautiful from these smouldering ashes.

Zimbabwe’s opposition is mortally wounded from ruling Zanu PF party street-smarts and brute force.

Naivety and arrogance in opposition politics contributed significantly to the self-inflicted wounds that have robbed Zimbabweans of a strong opposition to counter the corrupt and murderous ZanuPF.

Navel gazing, ego trips and politics of entitlement by the opposition have held hostage the dreams of peace-loving Zimbabweans for a long time.

So, to rebuild, the opposition must look into the mirror for its nemesis.

Looking back from the mirror will be the one-man dictatorship and a cabal sworn to see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing about former CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, who abandoned the party last month.

Also reflected from the mirror will be strategic ambiguity and lack of democratic structures on the ground, which the likes of self-proclaimed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu took full advantage of.

This introspection is critical to ensure the lessons from past mistakes don’t go to waste.  

How could an opposition party intent on dislodging ZanuPF dictatorship behave in such an undemocratic fashion?

As a result, a personality cult intolerant to criticism and debate became the centre and subsequently failed to hold.

Just like in ZanuPF, leadership mediocrity begot more obtusity.

Desperate to escape ZanuPF repression, some gullible opposition supporters joined the see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing brigade with tragic consequences.

The media did the opposition no favours by treating them with kid gloves.

Democracy is a culture that starts from the individual into the organisation and then national level.

Dictatorship at party level gives birth to dictatorship at the national level and never mutates into democracy.

The only opposition that will defeat ZanuPF is one that is different from ZanuPF.

It has to be a vibrant, transparent and accountable opposition.

It has to be an opposition that fights ZanuPF thuggery through democratic tenets such as respecting laws, constitutions and elections.

The people’s agenda and not the trappings of political power must be central to any opposition hoping to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Zimbabweans.

This principled opposition must articulate the burning desire for real freedom instead of majoring in insults.

It must articulate a compelling and inspiring vision for a future built on freedom, egalitarianism, tolerance, meritocracy and a culture of human rights.

Indeed, an opposition that stands a chance to dislodge ZanuPF from power is one that invests in building strong institutions at party level and resists the temptation for internal dirty politics.

It must be an opposition that helps establish national common purpose, mutual toleration and the love for Zimbabwe.

Never must our political differences turn us into enemies and people’s grievances prostituted and weaponised.

Our collective national psyche suffered the most damage from years of ZanuPF misrule.

Repairing this damage will not be easy. Building a disciplined, informed and engaged base of supporters for the opposition will be critical in turning Zimbabwe around.

The opposition must invest in voter education with the aim of focusing on issues rather than personalities during elections. Voters must be educated to focus on the quality of candidates and refuse to be bought by trinkets.

Perhaps the key take aways from recent events in the opposition can be summed this way: only a principled broad coalition of Zimbabweans will deliver the new Zimbabwe we crave for.

No single individual, no matter how gifted, has capacity to extricate us from this mess. Rules, laws, constitutions and not fallible human beings must be the guardrails of a prosperous Zimbabwe.

If these lessons have not been learnt, then we will be here for a while.

Trevor Ncube is the Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and the host of In Conversation With Trevor   

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