Tsvangirai: Grand defeat or a grand face-saver?

Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai

Tichaona Zindoga
FIVE issues have had a profound influence in the writing of this piece; President Mugabe says the opposition faces a grand defeat in 2018.

Zanu-PF wins Mwenezi East by-election: yet another massive by-election victory.

Yesterday Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition MDC-T, was featured in two national dailies and he was touting his prospects for 2018.

In a related matter, Promise Mkwananzi, leader of the so-called #Tajamuka makes a very revealing post on Facebook regarding elections in 2018.

Lastly, Munyaradzi Gwisai predicting a “crowning moment” for President Mugabe,

By now the reader may be aware that President Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF are rubbing their hands in anticipation of yet another victory in the next elections.

This is not mere bluffing.

All credible indications are that President Mugabe will lead the ruling party into a galloping win not least because the opposition in the country has been in terminal decline with the main opposition MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai having reached its ceiling and has progressively decayed and broken down.

The MDC splintered on two major occasions – in 2005 and in 2013.

The mojo it had at inception at the turn of the century has dissipated.

MDC-T has lost the confidence and enthusiasm of key constituencies such as labour, students, the Church and the donor community.

Not least, individual supporters have grown weary, fatigued and disillusioned.

The small numbers that are a feature of MDC-T rallies speak to these dwindled fortunes.

The last time, at the end of last month, only 200 people and below turned up for what had been billed as a mega rally in Harare under the aegis of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).

An even scrawnier number made what was dubbed the Nera feedback rally five days later and common sense tells us that these events were supposed to bring a momentum of anti-Government protest.

It didn’t happen.

And it is emblematic.

Joosbi Omar – he is the guy that won the Mwenezi East by-election for Zanu-PF.

We are a fledgling polity and in other times, Omar could have lost – which is what Kudakwashe Bhasikiti initially thought when the man of Asian extract stepped forward to challenge the seat Bhasikiti lost following his expulsion from Zanu-PF.

We heard Bhasikiti talking about – scaremongering – about Omar’s religion and race.

Mwenezi is a decidedly black and poor community.

But Omar won.

Bhasikiti had in fact chickened out of the race.

Omar is now bullish and says in the next election – the year of opposition’s grand defeat – he will deliver a more crushing victory.

That is, he thinks that winning by some 19 000 votes is not good enough!

Tsvangirai is a brave man.

He is a man of courage in many respects.

Dutch courage, rather, with respect to 2018.

NewsDay quoted him at a funeral in Gutu as telling mourners that he would know when to step down.

You get the correct feeling that he is hoping for the one miracle that is ranged against poor prospects and health.

“If I rule,” he rhapsodises, “there should come a time when I go and rest and enjoy with my wife and grandchildren, away from the pressure of politics.”

Well, good luck, but that sounds like a dying wish, actually!

(The Daily News is at pains to put words that “Mugabe will fall next year” in his mouth.)

It is Promise Mkwananzi of the #Tajamuka fame who makes a real revelation.

Mkwananzi is a former MDC-T youth leader and has both his umbilical cord and soul in the party and Morgan Tsvangirai (bar that dalliance with Tendai Biti) with #Tajamuka being but a quasi-MDC-T organisation.

Promise wrote an interesting post on Facebook on which I briefly engaged him – as we always do.

He said: “The 2018 elections are worrying me a great deal. As things stand, and if nothing (short of a miracle) happens, zanu has already set in motion a complex rigging process and my fear is that the result might be worse than 2013.

“I think opposition forces in their broadest sense must start to resist the flawed registration process that zanu has put in place and begin a spirited fight of delegitimising the entire electoral process that has been started by ZANU with a view to ultimately boycott the election.

“But by the time of boycott the election credibility should have been so discredited that zanu going it alone or with a few delusional parties will be worse of a sham than June 27. If this process of delegitimisation of the election is done properly and with the inclusion of all forces big or small I think even sadc and au can think twice.

“As it stands, it appears to me that we are walking into a zanu-pf already manufactured victory. We need to upset this ongoing rigging NOW. Just my thoughts!”

Mkwananzi’s drift is clear: he knows that the opposition is going to lose in 2018.

He essentially agrees with President Mugabe that opposition faces a grand defeat and this brings all matters into context.

To avoid the terrible morning-after of the grand defeat Mkwananzi proposes a grand face-saver in the form of delegitimising next year’s election.

The opposition has been making claims of rigging and incredible tales of magical inks that mutate and change ballots, disadvantaging the opposition.

Nera is actually one of these vehicles for delegitimising the next election.

Specifically, it is on the ready to subvert the electoral process in the short to long term.

Such demos as it has been planning are hoped to start some kind of street revolt that may render the constitutional order – and elections – invalid.

The conveners of Nera have been hoping for a conflagration from the streets, fruitlessly.

Still, the chaos option remains there.

But it is too much to ask.

The appetite for carnage has deserted Zimbabwe – at least for the season that coincides with the crucial elections of 2018.

Gwisai, the firebrand trade unionist and part of the early years of MDC, has something to say.

He wrote on a few days ago, that “…with (the) biggest harvest in two decades now beckoning, maguta all over (the) land, 2018 will be Mugabe’s crowning moment, with an even likely bigger landslide, grand coalition or no grand coalition of (the) neoliberal zvikutu. Mugabe’s spokesman is correct – ‘no jacobism in times of plenty’”.

Of course, he puts the opposition in its proper place of being neoliberal, Western lackeys.

Coming from Gwisai, this is totally profound.

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