Mavaza Says: “Chamisa Suffocating in a Blame Game”
31 January 2024
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By Dr. Masimba Mavaza | The failure and inaction of the opposition have become increasingly common in Zimbabwe’s political system. Much of this political demise stems from poor planning, as seen in the short lifespan of the CCC. Surprisingly, CCC blames these failures on ZANU PF, even when evidence suggests otherwise. This reveals a tendency within CCC to disregard information that contradicts their beliefs or challenges their idolized leader, Chamisa. Idolizing Chamisa is not only repugnant but also detrimental.

The opposition’s failures are an undeniable reality in our political system and have been a confusing topic in Zimbabwe’s opposition politics. Recent examples include Chamisa’s inadequate response to Hurricane Tshabangu, the failure to develop policy, establish a constitution, and address societal issues. Typically, people blame the more successful party for these failures; in this case, ZANU PF, which is gaining traction while the opposition, led by Chamisa, blames their rivals.

Chamisa’s political career has been marked by this blame game. Being a responsible politician means acknowledging the paradox of democratic representation: being equal to other citizens yet part of a small, power-holding elite; standing both with and above fellow citizens.

Chamisa’s resignation left his followers confused. The greatest shock came to Job Sikhala, who found himself without a party, leader, or supporters upon leaving prison. Aware of his uncertain position in Chamisa’s new party and suspicious of his friends involved in the Tshabangu debacle, Sikhala quickly joined the blame game to remain relevant.

Blame games are distinct political events that emerge from routine processes, offering insights into how democracies function under pressure. Politicians often prioritize blaming others for unpopular actions due to voters’ ‘negativity bias’: a tendency to focus more on losses than gains. This leads to strategies like agenda limitation, scapegoating, and defection, affecting policy decisions and leading to a loss of discretion.

Chamisa’s loss of consensus shows a detachment from traditional ideologies. In this interregnum, where the old is dying and the new cannot be born, various troubling symptoms emerge.

The release of Job Sikhala further complicates matters for the CCC. Chamisa’s departure leaves a significant gap, with only Fadzayi Mahere boldly following him. Sikhala’s release, while seen as heroic by some, presents a challenge for the CCC.

Meanwhile, ZANU PF continues its work, serving the nation amidst this turmoil.