Corrupt, Greedy and Weak Opposition Has Failed Zimbabwe

Is the opposition in Zimbabwe on holiday? This is the question that many people have been asking for over half a year now as the opposition, more accurately, major factions of the opposition, have been quiet since elections two years ago.
After the thumping defeat, the opposition split and as time resolved the drama, the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai held its congress in October.
Soon after, the party became engrossed in the drama that unfolded in Zanu-PF.
Tsvangirai even waded into the debate, in his Christmas message, decrying what he saw as “the minority in Zanu-PF . . . suspending and firing the majority on the basis that those being suspended are against the status quo”.
Since then, though, Zimbabwe has not heard from Tsvangirai or much from the opposition in general.
But there have been exceptions to the rule.
One is Job Sikhala.
The maverick Sikhala is very active on social media and uses his Facebook account to comment on various issues, except the posts, a good number of them containing expletives and vulgar language, lack substance and maturity.
A post he made on Tendai Biti days before Christmas is emblematic. He alleged that Tendai Biti was ill in a very crude way not worth repeating here.
Many people were rightfully disgusted and mortified by such statements coming from a top member of the opposition.
Few were surprised, though.
Go to his page and one is bound to find such crude and vulgar language as well as an obsession with political characters rather than national policies.
The MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, is a little more refined but all the same excitable, on and off Facebook, and given to making wild claims devoid of substance.
Take his opportunistic comments at the recent low-level floods occasioned by last week’s uncannily heavy rains that have since subsided in most parts save for traditional flood-prone areas where villagers also resist resettlement.
He was quoted as “ordering” President Mugabe from his annual leave to attend to the floods.
He said: “Whilst more than 700 poor people are being ravaged by the floods, Robert Mugabe and his whole extended family are having a nice time in the Far East. Typical of Mugabe and ZANU-PF, they don’t give a damn about the suffering of ordinary people as long as they themselves are enjoying themselves and living large.”
If one were to analyse the situation from the perspective that the floods are both seasonal and relatively small, the most fatal case of which relates to a family of eight perishing because of the poor judgment of the driver of the car they were travelling in, one would see through Gutu’s pettiness and fatuity.
The youthful MDC Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume also found an opportunity at cheap publicity stating: “The first citizen is out there eating the best the East can offer while his people suffer and die.”
Lives are important, no doubt, but using disasters, even small, insignificant ones for cheap political mileage is inherently sick.
This brings one to question what the opposition has done in this country as an “alternative government” in major political and economic questions of today.
Has the opposition offered alternatives to the liquidity challenges facing the country, for which Government recently issued bond coins?
Did opposition provide a comprehensive critique of the 2014 National Budget, offering a credible alternative?
Has Zimbabwe heard from MDC’s “shadow cabinet” since its September 18, 2013 “inauguration”?
Was the “cabinet” reviewed after the MDC-T congress?
The answer to the above questions is: NO.
And in light of the above, what does it tell us about the opposition?
As for Tsvangirai himself, the best he can offer is getting invited back to Government even when he has absolutely nothing to offer.
To cut a long story short, the opposition has become a great disservice.
By the way, in a democracy like Zimbabwe, there are certain expectations, not least because the opposition receives funding from the State. Here is one scholar on the subject:
“… the opposition has a duty to themselves and to their voters to play the role of an alternative government and indeed, the role of a government in waiting. In the more mature democracies, this is well recognized and the leader of the largest opposition party is often given access to sensitive information on the basis that he or she, as the Prime Minister in waiting, has to be ready to perform the role of running the country at comparatively short notice . . .”
The MDCs obviously fail on this, and who can trust Tsvangirai with sensitive State information anyway?
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) states it expects opposition “(to) be ready to exercise the responsibilities to which it aspires on a lasting basis.” Zimbabwe’s opposition has zero responsibilities and zero programmes – whatever has become of their JUICE – and all they do is make silly, opportunistic noises.
As for Tsvangirai himself, the best he can offer is getting invited back to Government even when he has absolutely nothing to offer.
The opposition has become a great disservice.

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