Opposition leaders have now lost the plot

On November 20, one US dollar was fetching the equivalent of $1,90 in bond notes on the streets of Harare. The next day, Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in. Today, the value of a US dollar has fallen to $1,30.

Candid Comment,Brezhnev Malaba
bmalaba@zimind.co.zw

One of the jokes doing the rounds in Harare this week is that it appears there is no need to rig next year’s election.

The joke is on the opposition, of course. After being swept away on a tide of nationwide euphoria which accompanied Robert Mugabe’s dramatic ouster, opposition leaders are now wallowing in self-inflicted agony. Patrick Chinamasa told them, in plain language, that Mugabe’s military-backed ouster (this is euphemism, but you catch my drift) was an internal Zanu PF affair and had nothing to do with an excitable opposition. But they were in denial and, like a toddler who stubbornly clings onto a shiny toy, would not know the truth if it hit them smack in the face.

Zimbabweans are confronted with a most peculiar situation. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new President, is anchoring his government on a reformist agenda. In one fell swoop, he has taken the wind out of the opposition’s sails.

The past two weeks have been frenetic. Last week, the opposition lost its rallying cry: “Mugabe must go!” This week, the opposition has lost its campaign mantra: “Change!” What next?

Amid these tumultuous developments, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu has been heard squealing: “Mnangagwa has stolen our ideas.” Wonders never cease! Which ideas are these?

The truth is that the opposition has been outsmarted. The situation reminds me of Diego Maradona’s epic goal against England in the 1986 World Cup. The England players could see him embark on that unforgettable slalom but they could do precious little to thwart his deft touch and devastating body swerve. Likewise, Zimbabwe’s opposition political parties can see Mnangagwa cleverly positioning himself as a latter-day reformer but, like a bunch of outwitted soccer players, they are too mesmerised to respond.

Who can ever forget the bizarre spectacle of opposition leaders falling over each other while jostling for their 15 seconds of fame on the podium at the Zimbabwe Grounds during the much-celebrated “military intervention”? They were behaving like overzealous gate-crashers who storm a wedding gig they know nothing about, only to drunkenly ask with a slurred voice after the party has long ended: “By the way, whose wedding was that?” Neutral observers were left puzzled by the strange behaviour of opposition leaders at the Highfield rally.

Morgan Tsvangirai forgets that he has his own succession headache to solve. How does he excitedly get entangled in what is essentially an internal Zanu PF succession matter? To whose benefit? Let’s face it, Mugabe’s controversial ouster is enabling Zanu PF to rejuvenate itself. A renewed Zanu PF will soon render the opposition irrelevant, if it is not careful.

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