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Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeGuest columnistDespondent and angry Zimbabweans desperately need a united opposition

Despondent and angry Zimbabweans desperately need a united opposition

Scenes of the recent violent protests in Beitbridge against the Zimbabwe government’s import restrictions, should serve as a stark reminder of the sombre desperation and despondency in which the people of Zimbabwe have been forced into by the callousness of the ZANU PF government, and the abandonment they feel at the hands of a fractured and paralysed opposition.

It is no longer an issue worth repeating that the ZANU PF government under President Robert Mugabe has destroyed the lives of the people of Zimbabwe – making every living day insufferably painful and intolerable.

The people of Zimbabwe have obviously have had enough, and understandably cannot take it anymore.

Their lives have been battered, molested ruined, and virtually destroyed by a regime that seems deliberately hell-bent on punishing the people of Zimbabwe, for reasons only best known to themselves.

Otherwise, how can anyone logically explain why a government would do everything in its power to destroy people’s lives?

The extent at which the ZANU PF government has ruined a once glorious country can never be brought down to mere incompetence, but can only be attributed to a deliberate policy, as it needs a lot of effort to effect such torrential damage.

How else can one explain a government that puts in place policies that ensure that the people of Zimbabwe completely fail to make a living?

Every honest avenue that the people try to take in order to make a descent livelihood – after the government implemented policies that virtually destroyed every source of formal employment – is barricaded, so as to render every Zimbabwean dead.

This, to me, amounts to a crime against humanity.

As such, it makes every sense that Zimbabweans have gone into fight mode, since it is human nature to defend oneself against anyone who seeks to destroy you – and the ZANU PF regime is doing exactly that.

However, Zimbabweans by nature would not seek to fight for their survival through violent means, as they are a peace loving people – as witnessed by the manner in which they have tolerated over three decades of ZANU PF brutality and abuse.

The question then is: what happened in Beitbridge a few days ago?

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Why was there so much violence?

Have the people of Zimbabwe suddenly turned violent?

The answer is simple – the people of Zimbabwe feel caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand they face the attack of the ZANU PF regime, on the other hand they feel abandoned by the opposition that should have been their only hope.

It is such a desperate situation that the people of Zimbabwe find themselves in – and we all know that a desperate person is capable of doing anything and is unpredictable – as desperate times call for desperate measures.

Zimbabweans have reached desperation point, and anything can happen in this country.

I can think of a number of possible scenarios, none of which I dare entertain.

However, the fact is that this country is headed for calamity if no concrete efforts are made immediately to remedy the situation.

This is where the opposition needs to show real leadership.

The opposition needs to step up and play the role that the people of Zimbabwe expects of them.

At the moment, to say that the opposition is in jeopardy is a gross understatement – the opposition is clearly dysfunctional as an effective force that can seriously challenge ZANU PF in the forthcoming 2018 elections.

That is a fact any serious-minded Zimbabwean can never deny.

The opposition is fraught with such divisions that come 2018, the vote will seriously be split that no one party will claim the honours.

This had been a serious challenge in a number of countries where dictators have thrived – they have thrived not necessarily as a result of their oppression of the people, but because the opposition failed to act as a united force, and therefore, split the popular vote.

Even in this country in 2008, the main reason the result was what it wasthat the opposition was divided.

Had the main opposition gone into those elections as a united front, the situation could have been different.

We cannot afford that anymore in Zimbabwe.

Another problem with the current situation is that a vast number of Zimbabweans have lost confidence in the opposition.

Not a week goes by without an opposition political party being formed.

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This has given the people the impression that the motives behind such formations are less that noble – as some seem to be formed to settle personal vendettas, others for mere publicity, or even to make a livelihood in this difficult economic situation.

This has seriously damaged the reputation of the opposition in Zimbabwe.

In addition, the seemingly narrow self-serving interests of the existing opposition political parties does not inspire confidence at all.

This is the time to genuinely place personal interests in the backseat, and put the people of Zimbabwe in the front seat.

The interests of the suffering people need to be the first priority.

This is the time for all those who genuinely care for the suffering people of Zimbabwe to come together and form a workable coalition.

There is very little time left before the 2018 elections, and there are so many modalities that need to be worked out before any workable coalition can be functional.

As such, there is hardly any time to dilly dally.

It would be foolhardy to assume that it will be a walk in the park to put together political parties that have strong differences, but the sooner the effort to work together starts, the better.

Let the opposition seek common ground, rather than focusing on the differences – surprisingly, when approached with a positive attitude, they will discover that they have more in common than differences.

Most of those in the opposition have worked together before, so let them search for that commonality that enabled them to work together before.

Yes, we can!

The people of Zimbabwe need this desperately.

A coalition that instils confidence and hope in the people of Zimbabwe, and remove the ZANU PF government will also prevent an impending situation of lawlessness that is surely facing the country.

Any leaderless angry and desperate people without any hope in sight, will inevitably resort to civil unrest, leading to an ungovernable nation – as sure recipe for disaster for this nation.

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Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a community activist, communications specialist, journalist, and writer. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes feedback. Please call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com

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