Home » Governance » Will Coalition Go the Distance? [editorial]

PROGRESS towards a grand coalition of opposition parties to create critical mass against the ruling ZANU-PF has been noted in recent weeks.

That the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Morgan Tsvangirai the Simba Makoni-led MavamboKusileDawn (MKD) Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU and Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) have agreed to put their heads together, while notable, should not be an end in itself.

This should be but the first step in a journey of a thousand miles and the sooner players appreciate this point and position themselves to do more, the better.

The proof of the pudding for this “merger” lies in whether or not the coalition will go the distance and deliver as intended.

A number of odds are stacked against this development, including a track record of failure the need to mobilise more voter apathy as well as an electoral playing field which is not level and is highly skewed in favour of ZANU-PF which holds the levers of power in a grip so tight and is not about to loosen just yet.

History shows that this is not the first time opposition parties have come together in joint efforts that have then fizzled out on the eve of the elections.

Ahead of the 2013 harmonised elections, a number smaller parties including Voice of the People led by Moreprecision Muzadzi, Kisinoti Mukwazhi’s Zimbabwe Development Party, among others, had thrown their weight behind MDC-T only to be disillusioned by what they called dictatorial tendencies by Tsvangirai which led them to withdraw as elections drew nigh.

ZAPU and MDC led by Ncube also forged some sort of alliance for the same plebiscite and there are no prizes for guessing the result of that. MDC-T and Makoni ended up with some understanding at election time, which apparently did not have the buy in of the MKD membership, if claims by some members are anything to go by.

Whatever the circumstances, the bottom line is the ideal of a grand coalition against ZANU-PF failed to take off.

And now, three years before 2018 elections, here we are again with some attempts at coalescing. Will this go the distance this time around?

May it be noted that for it to be grand, the coalition needs to be more than the four parties that have so far come together.

Will other parties come forth or will they go it alone and succeed only in splitting the vote? With electoral reform not close to becoming a reality, the major parties are currently in boycott mode as they try to force reforms to occur.

Should reforms being clamoured for in order to level the playing field in terms of having a new voters’ roll equal access to that register for all political parties, among other things not happen, which is likely to be the case, what then? What good will a coalition do?

As it is, the current coalition itself has ambivalent views. While for the ongoing by-elections the MDC-T has vowed it will not participate, ZAPU and the NCA are fielding candidates in some of the vacant constituencies.

Unless and until the coalition comes up with a common position that can last the distance and bust all the odds stacked against it, we fear that the latest coalition could prove to be a non-event in the grand scheme of things.

But then again, what else is new?

Source : Financial Gazette