OPINION: The Real Political Opposition
8 June 2020
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By Vivid Gwede| After the 2018 harmonised elections, a judicial system registrar allegedly refused to institute legal processes that would have allowed the MDC Alliance to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC) to give the former access to the server containing the returns.

That stroke probably wrapped in mystery what had transpired in the plebiscite, including for parties who were before the Constitutional Court, as it decided the MDC Alliance challenge to the presidential results.

But if everyone else did not know what the server contained someone knew and was probably so unsettled by what they saw that they considered what it meant if the opposition remained strong.

The recent Supreme Court judgement presented an opportunity for them to eradicate this headache.

Sankarian political clarification

Nevertheless, Thomas Sankara observed there are events in the life of politics which quicken people’s understanding of an otherwise complex event like, for instance, the recent Supreme Court judgement.

The June 4 invasion of the MDC Alliance’s headquarters by the security forces to evict its occupants has left Zimbabweans with a politically clarified scenario as the legal façade peeled off.

The Khupe and Mwonzora group will be hard pressed now to argue that they are still merely fighting an internal battle in the MDC, yet with the State’s manifest help.

They have forfeited their bona fides as a challenger to Zanu-PF’s policies.
Formal entitlement of the party, by virtue of a Supreme Court judgement will not magically transfer to Dougie/ Khupe et al the trust of over 2 million voters, who voted for Chamisa’s MDC Alliance.

People do not normally willingly reward those who fight their heroes.
For daring the Zanu-PF regime, the Chamisa team are presumably the people’s heroes, which makes the other group the polar opposite of that.

Wrestling with the messenger

But the problem for Zanu-PF does not immediately go away, even if the MDC Alliance was completely defenestrated to such an extent that it collapses on the morrow.

The historical popular grievances for which the MDC Alliance has been a messenger on behalf of the masses will remain unresolved.

Unless Zanu-PF wants to believe its own propaganda that the MDC era has been a creation of the West, then it would know that the ones with problems with its policies are not just a legal entity called MDC A, MDC-T or whatever, but the masses themselves.

It is the masses, as shown by the immediate popularity of a young MDC in the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, who gave their blessings to the MDC.

The millions ensconced in their disparate homes are the real MDC, the real opposition – not an organisation housed in a building along Nelson Mandela street, which the majority of voters have never stepped their feet into.

Forgetting history, even Zimbabwe’s own

With Zimbabweans’ experiences during the colonial era, Zanu-PF should have been the wiser that an idea cannot be banned.

Banning a movement or organisation championing a popular question can only be a delaying tactic, yet delaying tactics, unlike in an idle game of football, do not solve historical questions.

During the 1950’s, as Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle flamed into an enlarging bonfire, the settler regime panicked and increased its levels of oppression, including arrests and banning of political parties, as well as forming puppet parties.

What remained clear is that for every nationalist party that was banned, the next sunrise saw the formation of another more determined organisation.

What the colonial settlers forgot, even Ian Smith’s racist Rhodesian Front, was that the resolve and quest for freedom in the masses who were the ultimate owners of the resistance movement could not be banned by legal strictures or coercive instruments.

Treacherous waters

Ironically, for any unpopular regime, its most dangerous moment is one in which the formal ‘enemy’, the official opposition is totally vanquished, for that victory is but illusory.

Restriction of formal opposition structures and processes, as Zanu-PF has already done with elections, removes the stability that is provided by formally channelled opposition, and pushes people to self-activity and opens room for all manner of spontaneity.

It forces the real opposition – the masses – to exercise agency.

The only conclusion is that, if the current demobilisation of the opposition structures is carried out to its logical end, it leaves everyone in treacherous waters. Kwaheri!