Of Professor Ncube’s BBC Interview And Lessons For Other Parties

As Zimbabwe is hurtling towards the 2018 harmonized elections, there is a certain degree of despondency among the long suffering Zimbabweans caused by the lack of progress in the negotiations to build a grand alliance of opposition parties, which has long been taunted as the panacea to dethroning Zanu PF from power.

By Moregiven Sithole

Despite the general consensus by various opposition parties that an alliance is the only way to go, it seems as if they have not agreed on one major issue which is: Who should lead the proposed coalition?

However, the answer to this question is not so difficult if Professor Welshman Ncube’s interview on Hard Talk, BBC last week is anything to go by.

Just after the interview, prominent political analysts who also subscribe to the formation of a formidable force against President Mugabe were quick to laud the Professor as a “mature” politician.

The interview was seen as “mature” and “impressive” because at one point after leaving the mainstream MDC in 2005, Prof Ncube vowed never to work with his former boss again because of his “dictatorial tendencies and propensity to breach the party Constitution at will.”

Contrary to his previous vow, Prof Ncube appeared remorseful and apologetic on BBC choosing to set aside his differences with Tsvangirai in favor of a common purpose of working together.

Prof Ncube concedes that this worked against the opposition particularly MDC-T which was denied its way to the State House for failing to garner the 50 percent plus 1 vote after beating ZANU PF in the first round of the 2008 Presidential election.

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Prof Ncube has gone a step further to sign a MOU with Morgan Tsvangirai signalling his commitment to a broad based coalition of opposition parties

The most important aspect of the former Minister of Commerce’s recent interview is that he knows who should lead the envisaged coalition.

He said in choosing a coalition leader, opposition parties must consider “the importance of using objective criteria in coming to the determination of who that candidate should be.”

“What is important too is that when we agree on that on that particular candidate we must all do so unconditionally and rally behind that candidate if we are to have a fighting chance of dislodging Mugabe from power,” he said.

He said that coalition leader in his opinion have to be the one with potential and capacity to rally and motivate the electorate to defeat the Mugabe regime.

In a not so strongly encrypted endorsement of Morgan Tsvangirai to be the leader of an alliance, Ncube said “We should choose the person who will unify us and has sufficient support at grassroots level to rally as many voters to our side as possible.”

Without saying that Tsvangirai is an automatic leader of the envisaged alliance he admits that the former Premier is the only one who has previously beaten Mugabe in an election.

In this regard the message by the Professor must be taken so seriously by other small political parties particularly People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s leader Tendai Biti and Joyce Mujuru of The National People’s Party (NPP).

Mujuru and her cronies have of late been trying to use her liberation war credentials and her long time deputising Mugabe as a trump card to influence her stewardship of the proposed alliance, discrediting Tsvangirai at the same time as a political spent force.

Their argument is Tsvangirai has in almost two decades failed to dislodge Mugabe.

Tendai Biti’s Trump Card

Tendai Biti who is a former ally of Tsvangirai also seems to be eyeing the front seat.

He thinks maybe being the most successful Minister of Finance in the Inclusive Government has given him the required popularity to lead the coalition.

Those especially from the Mujuru camp, who think that Tsvangirai has failed and should leave room for them, should be reminded that the electorate is aware of the fact that for the long time they have been serving under Mugabe they played a great deal in destroying the economy of this country.

Despite becoming fervent critics of the government now, the electorate has not forgiven them for that.

Biti also can not be the suitable candidate to lead the coalition as his moving out of the MDC T made him unpopular with some people suspiciously treating him as a ZANU PF project meant to divide the election vote.

After all these political parties have never tested the electoral waters to see if they have a following, with only Mujuru having contested in the Bikita by-election where her candidate performed dismally.

Like Prof Ncube, the leaders of these other small opposition political parties must come to terms with the reality that no any other political player can lead the coalition and manage to defeat ZANU PF.

Tsvangirai despite his past failures remains the magnetic force in the opposition who can actually give the ruling party a run for its money if chosen to lead the alliance.

If anyone who is not Tsvangirai is elected to lead the proposed alliance, the 2018 poll could be a stroll in the park for ZANU PF which is already mobilising voters for the next year’s election in the name of Youth Interface Rallies.

A serious leader must lead the alliance or else history will repeat itself.