Opposition misreading political mood

Source: Opposition misreading political mood – DailyNews Live

19 December 2017

HARARE – Recently, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and representatives of the MDC
Alliance – Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa – were in the United States of
America as part of an invitation to discuss the fall of former president
Robert Mugabe.

The discussion included prospects of holding credible elections in
Zimbabwe after the military intervention and the presence of soldiers on
the streets.

HRW director for southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga and Biti testified before
the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and
Global Health policy.

Their testimonies triggered a public backlash as there were seen as
undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and his own
commitment to making sweeping electoral reforms before the 2018 elections
are held.

What infuriated most Zimbabweans was the recommendation to the US
government to maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe until Mnangagwa’s
administration had instituted democratic and electoral reforms as demanded
by the opposition and local civic society organisations.

While we hold no brief for Mnangagwa and his administration, the MDC and
rights group, appear to have misread the current political mood in the
country.

The majority of ordinary Zimbabweans is concerned by bread and butter
issues and would want to see if Mnangagwa can depart from Mugabe’s
previous ruinous polices and improve livelihoods.

No well-meaning Zimbabwean would want to hear about sanctions especially
at a time there is hope that the departure of Mugabe could lead to a new
beginning for the suffering lot. Rights groups and the MDC appear to be
driven by self interests to the detriment of the ordinary citizens
considering that they decided to arrive at the conclusion of having the US
maintain sanctions without having presented their demands to Mnangagwa’s
government.

And considering that Mnangagwa and his government have been in office for
less than a month, the actions of the MDC and the rights group expose lack
of serious strategy needed by the opposition to conjure up a new
narrative.

Since the inauguration of Mnangagwa as president and several policy
pronouncements by his government – including many bright spots in the
proposed 2018 National Budget – there has not been any real or meaningful
intervention by the opposition other than claims government cloned its
blueprints.

Where Zimbabwe stands today needs a new thrust by politicians – the MDC
included – to chart a new beginning. The sanctions mantra, whether for or
against, does not work anymore because the biggest story right now is that
of bread and better issues.