One of the major advantages of the first-past-the-post electoral systems is that coalition governments are the exception rather than the rule.
Proportional representation electoral systems tend to grant small political parties disproportionately large amounts of power, which they use to hold the majority party (and the nation) to ransom.
With all-inclusive governments come gridlocks. Decision-making is impeded. Bickering and grandstanding become the order of the day. The Government of National Unity of 2009-2013 in Zimbabwe stands as a painful reminder. In 2010, for example, Zimbabwe passed fewer laws through Parliament than in any legislative year since independence.
This is why we welcome President-elect Mnangagwa’s rejection of the idea of an inclusive government in an interview with Sky News on Monday. As we reported yesterday, Cde Mnangagwa is of the view that though a coalition government is not bad, it is not necessary at the moment.
Said Cde Mnangagwa: “In 1964, Harold Wilson of Britain had one seat, beating the Conservatives by one seat and he formed Government and ruled England and I have two thirds majority and you are talking about me abandoning my two thirds majority to set a Government of National Unity?
“Not that it’s a bad idea, but it doesn’t show that there is any need. I am saying politics should now take the back seat because the elections are behind us. We should now put our shoulders to the wheel for purposes of modernising our economy, growing our economy together. Those who have voted against me, those who voted for me, we say Zimbabwe is ours together.
Those pressing for an inclusive government want to see Zimbabwe in perennial election mode. During the GNU era, all focus was on the 2013 elections. As a result, both Zanu-PF and MDC-T were pre-occupied with sabotaging each other at the expense of meaningful development.
Nelson Chamisa has not helped the situation by refusing to respect the will of the people. He wants to be seen as tough. Anywhere near Government, he would be out to prove that he has real power, unlike Morgan Tsvangirai who was no more than a ceremonial Prime Minister.
The disproportionate power being wielded by Chamisa and his MDC-Alliance should also serve as an indicator of trouble to come should they be entrusted with real power. If the violence and mayhem they unleashed with perceived power is anything to go by, then they should never be near real power.
On what grounds would Cde Mnangagwa form a government with a formation that has refused to recognise his victory in last week’s harmonised elections?
All this talk of an all-inclusive government or coalition of sorts is a subversion of the will of the people. We long for the days when a majority vote actually meant something, when the will of the people meant something. When elections meant something, when winning them meant something and losing them too, actually meant something.
Chamisa did not know his place in the electoral race, still does not know his place after the race and will most certainly not know his place in Government. At the moment, he should make himself useful outside and not inside the incoming Government.
That way, he has time to mature, to formulate proper policies and hopefully realise that running a country is more serious business that making clever quips or giving childish sound bites to reporters.