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has the opposition gone
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
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
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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