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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Where has the opposition gone
    Tawanda Majoni
    October 31, 2013

    One thing that Zimbabwean opposition politicians and their organisations generally seem not to understand is that politics is like evangelism: you have to keep on preaching the word, converting the sinners, fortifying the converted and fighting for the betterment of humanity through every season.

    You have to spend 40 days in the wilderness, get hurt by the thistles in the desert and travel on a dry throat until you reach the Land of Canaan.

    During elections, particularly this year’s, I heard so many politicians quote verses from the Bible, yet they demonstrably have no inkling of the contents of the Holy Book from which they should have drawn many essential lessons.

    They talked so much about Jesus Christ fighting the devil and the Canaan-bound Moses stumbling, but enduring. They talked about leading the flocks to the Promised Land. Talk about the devil quoting the Bible.

    I am saying this in the context of the near total withdrawal of opposition politicians from the scene after the July 31 elections where they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Zanu-PF by whatever means.

    During the campaign season, Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC, was everywhere, even sleeping in bug infested huts in rural areas, eating modest suppers with villagers and literally travelling on the back of an ass. He spent weeks away from home and endured the vagaries of the campaign trail.

    I found his actions humbling and used to tell all who cared to listen that it was gratifying to see a law professor doing what he was doing. I was convinced then that he was a noble politician, genuinely fighting to better the lot of the downtrodden.

    Of course, he didn’t score well during the much disputed election, hardly managing a single seat for his party. While his heavy loss is a sad narrative, what makes me even sadder is the fact that he has apparently allowed his energies to sag and sink with his loss.

    Now, it is as though he never existed. It looks as though he has skipped the border and is convalescing somewhere, in a remote part of the world.

    The list is long, of course. Where is Nelson Chamisa? Where is Tendai Biti? Chamisa was particularly active in the run-up to this year’s elections.

    Together with Morgan Tsvangirai, his boss, he covered almost the whole breadth of the country preaching the word of democracy, better human rights and a politically habitable Zimbabwe. Not even the fact that he managed to retain his seat in Parliament has made him visible in the aftermath.

    But then, Tsvangirai himself is also a culprit. Save for a few half-hearted visits to the provinces about two months ago, he is virtually nowhere to be seen. He is not being heard either, as though Zan-PF’s controversial win has killed his voice.

    The same applies to Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni. They have withdrawn into their cocoons like cowering snails.

    Zimbabweans are not hearing the much anticipated talk about where we are headed we are seeing hardly any movement. And that at the time we most need it. Are these politicians busy licking their wounds?

    We don’t need whimpering politicians! We need people who will spend 40 days in the wilderness, endure hardships and yet not take their eyes off the track to Canaan.

    We don’t want politicians whose energies dry up just like that, because the road to Canaan is an arduous one. It is full of pits and the road is infested with venom-spitting snakes.

    In other words, politics, particularly in this part of the world, is no bed of roses. If these politicians thought they would use the electorate to mobilise power and line their pockets, they should have a rethink. But they should not abandon the path.

    They need to keep their hands firmly on the plough handles.

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