By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
Zanu PF is not afraid of Facebook posts, Whatsapp and Twitter rants. Zanu PF only panics when you go back silently to the drawing board to plan and refresh on ideas. Come 2023, opposition may be given a surprise boot which may perhaps paralyze the project of 21 years. Revolutionary movements are not moved by brands; they are moved by well oiled political strategy.
Morgan Tsvangirai was a strong brand and ZANU PF found ways to deal with a popular brand. Today the late icon is nowhere to be found in the political landscape. This revolutionary movement invests in intelligence and this is what MDC Alliance and others should be working on.
Opposition should stop being cry babies. 21 years have gone by and you are still crying about rigging yet you have ample time to plan. You need to restrategize. You always cry of infiltration, who has stopped you from infiltrating ZANU PF from the top to bottom and get information you want?
Winning elections and assuming power require strategic intelligence. You may have the numbers but if you can not apply strategy on the numbers, you may spend next 20 years leaning on popularity and brand.
I was looking at the way Tendai Biti, the former Minister of Finance in the inclusive arrangement, crafted 2008 roadmap together with Engineer Elias Mudzuri. Zanu PF was defeated because they applied strategic thinking.
I find it interesting that opposition supporters, opposition leaders and sympathizers are always on Twitter from morning till evening while Zanu PF is busy with Pfumvudza program in rural areas. Come elections, they will be banking on the Pfumvudza project and definitely rural folks will vote for them. Opposition controls urban stake and ruling party is in charge of rural populace, what will be the difference? Does the opposition have any rural policy? Why having selfies when you are indeed supposed to be in charge of rural strategies? You must be making inroads in less penetrated areas and this would have given Zanu PF torrid times to control you ahead of 2023 elections. If you are not careful, Zanu PF will have a walkover in 2023.
Teach a Catholic for seven years, and take him elsewhere, you will never indoctrinate him and whatever he was taught for seven years will not be changed by anyone. What happened in 2008 run-off is still fresh in people’s minds. The ghoulish episodes of 2018 and January 2019 are still fresh in everyone’s mind. This is how Zanu PF plays the game and in 2023 they will apply another strategy.
One of the things which have misled opposition is media itself. I remember in 2013, most headlines towards elections were as follows; Tsvangirai to have landslide victory; Tsvangirai the next President; MDC tipped to win resoundingly; Tsvangirai prepares for inauguration. Come on! Wake up from your deep slumber. Tsvangirai witnessed the opposite.
Advisors are important in politics and if one is to get to State House, listening is an attribute of good leadership. As we speak, the opposition is in shambles and this may require Nelson Chamisa to sit down and have sober reflection, assemble a new team if need be and employ proper strategies.
I have been following opposition politics with keen interest and my conclusion is there is lack of strategy and proper consultation on how to deal with Zanu PF. One thing for sure which you need to note and understand is that the current Zanu PF is no longer under Robert Mugabe, it is now under the military. Opposition needs to reflect on its journey for the past 21 years and see if it is still able to fulfill its mission.
The current opposition team is not inspiring. Nelson Chamisa needs to re-organize his team, remove bad apples and backbiters. Snakes must be flushed out of his system and bring in a determined team.
I need a strong opposition that provides checks and balances to the government of the day. Wake up guys.
A set of advisors must be a balanced team, hidden advisors, foreign advisors, internal advisors and those who are in the corporate world. Advice from the above team must be balanced. That is balancing the equilibrium, both politics and relevance. One can be a good advisor but not relevant in politics, and some can be good advisors, but lack grassroots connectivity and background. There is need to have a proper introspection on the crop of advisors around opposition politics.
Sharp critics are important in politics, they build you, they build hope and dreams. Hard talk builds future and dreams. One of the major challenges in opposition politics, even in the ruling party is when you offer advice; you are labeled a Zanu PF agent or regime change agent. There is no room for criticism and tolerance of divergence.
Yes infiltration is common in African politics, but you must not blame infiltration for the past 20 years. Zanu PF infiltrates where there is a gap. What has created the gap? For example, if workers are not paid and someone comes to their rescue, can that be infiltration? On rigging claims, are the polling agents paid on time? Are the available resources being channeled towards the good cause? Are polling agents given food on time? You need to consider what your opponents are offering their agents. Polling agents need better allowances?
My advice to MDC led by Advocate Chamisa is don’t focus too much on these mindless recalls being done by the other MDC faction, mayoral elections, by-elections, gossip and any other helpless scandals. ZANU PF is implementing Pfumvudza project in rural areas. Try to come up with something tangible which benefits the rural electorate. Failure to pull up your sleeves will result in whitewash in the rural areas come 2023.
Let me end by telling you that ZANU PF is so cunning. It relies on intelligence to counter any opposition move. You need to have your own intelligence to counter ZANU PF and even infiltrate the revolutionary party. If you have the capacity to ambush ZANU PF come 2023, we shall see.
Don’t forget that you are dealing with a military government. Sometimes Emmerson Mnangagwa may not even be aware of some developments, as you are aware the government is infested with soldiers. Try to match them or even outdo them. Focus on the ball, apply strategic intelligence and fight corruption. Start preparing for the next election and be visible on the ground.
My advice is free to both the ruling party and the opposition.
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org