After years of senseless bickering, the opposition seems to have finally seen the light and a coalition appears to be on the horizon.
On Wednesday, MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai signed a deal with National People’s Party leader, Joice Mujuru, while another was inked with MDC leader, Welshman Ncube yesterday.
A cross-section of Zimbabweans has been desperate for such a coalition and this will lift despondency from people, who had long concluded that Zanu PF would walk with the elections again next year.
The signing of the memoranda of understanding is the easy part, now the parties have to hit the ground running, explaining to the electorate what these agreements mean and if they will take the final leap and unite or have a loose coalition.
The opposition has all the ingredients to win the next elections as long as they are not complacent and give out contradictory statements.
Issues that are likely to be sticking points should not be put on the backburner, but should be addressed with urgency so they cannot derail what clearly is the country’s best chance to have a new leadership.
There is need for clarity early on about the structure of the envisaged coalition, who will lead it and how the parties will divide seats amongst themselves.
This has been a sticking issue in elections past and the sooner it is addressed the better.
Hard decisions should be made and those that are not in agreement with the idea of a coalition should be dropped now, as waiting for next year may be too costly.
There are bound to be disgruntled people in all the parties, but there is need for the leaders to explain why a coalition is needed and try to get them onto one side so these organisations do not give statements that are at odds with the message being given out by the leaders.
It is a painful process, as some had become comfortable in their positions and will feel this process undermines them.
But it has to be done.
The opposition has its shortcomings — and they are many — but coming together shows that they are willing to complement each other.
The next few weeks and months will be important in mapping out their strategy as a coalition and how best this can be sold to a somewhat apathetic audience.
The opposition has all the goodwill and history will judge them harshly if they squander this historic moment. – Newsday