The biggest advantage the MDC ever had was that people believed that they and only they would be acceptable to the West and international community. It led people to believe that only by supporting and voting for the MDC could they see economic improvement in Zimbabwe.
That argument and that advantage has been spectacularly demolished by President Emmerson Mnangagwa since November 2017. The president is flying high right now. Very high. The international community is embracing him, much to the consternation of the opposition, especially the MDC-T.
The MDC Alliance of Nelson Chamisa has been hoist by its own petard, unfortunately.
They believed and led the nation to believe that “Mugabe Must Go” was the solution to all our problems. The nation, unfortunately for the MDC, bought this narrative. I remember stating in a local paper that this position meant that the MDC was comfortable with thinking that anyone other than Mugabe would be better for Zimbabwe.
I asked back then, if that was the case, why the replacement should be MDC or Morgan Tsvangirai. I asked this because the MDC has never put forward a compelling proposition for being given power, except that they were not Mugabe.
So now, Mugabe is gone.
The nation that the MDC conditioned to believe that anyone other than Mugabe would be brilliant for Zimbabwe appears now to be believing that the replacement, in Emmerson Mnangagwa, is good enough.
Worse, the international community is warming up to ED and his crew, which means the argument that the West could never support a ZANU PF government is now dead in the water.
I am stunned at the lack of flexible thinking in the MDC of Nelson Chamisa. Stunned, I tell you.
Instead of recognising the changed circumstances and coming up with politics to suit, the MDC is stuck in its old mentality. Reverting to type, the only strategy Nelson Chamisa now has and is playing out is the same strategy that they put forward against Mugabe – questioning the legitimacy of the government of the day.
The panic can be seen in comments by Tendai Biti, berating the British for accepting and welcoming SB Moyo, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister. Insulting the British for sending Prime Ministerial envoys to Harare.
The panic is setting in because Biti and Chamisa clearly see that the tactic (it was never a strategy because it did not depend on their own actions by depended on the predicted errors of ZANU PF/Mugabe) will not work this time.
The criminal letting down of their supporters comes in at this precise moment.
Instead of pivoting to policy proposals, Chamisa and his guys have simply reverted back to type: we want electoral reforms, we want access to ZBC etc.
Promising bullet trains and airports at people’s homes is not policy and Zimbabwe’s educated population knows that. Saying you will fix something without saying how is simply taking people for fools.
You can rest assured, Mnangagwa is going to give them this. Such as for instance, airing spectacle of Nelson Chamisa being hung, drawn and quartered by Stephen Sackur of the BBC on ZBC.
When his supporters protest that the interview should not be aired on ZBC, all they are doing is diminishing themselves in the eyes of the international community. The interviewer was British, respected by the establishment in Britain and considered a professional.
So that must mean that the MDC and Chamisa do not want to be put under the microscope and given a free pass.
The West and especially Britian, are fatigued not only by the long-drawn crisis in Zimbabwe, but, more importantly, by the ineptitude of the mina opposition.
The departure of Mugabe gives them the pretext to re-engage and get on with it. And that is exactly what they will do.
I can assure you that nothing is going to be done to Mnangagwa’s government by the British, the Europeans of anyone else, even if he fails to agree with the MDC on the inconsequential demands for having the MDC print the ballot papers.
As we speak, just today, the Electoral Commission of Zimbabwe, has announced that the Voters’ Roll can now be inspected by the public at hundreds of places around Zimbabwe. That is a key demand of the MDC demolished. We can check our names and the date of the election has not even been announced yet.
You can even text the system and you will get a message back confirming your registration.
Nelson Chamisa can still win against Mnangagwa. But not if he continues to listen to his supporters who are telling him he is doing just fine, does not need a new strategy and should continue on his path.
Fortunately for President Mnangagwa, Nelson Chamisa has taken exactly this approach: no one can tell him anything, he knows everything. His supporters are busy, very busy, insulting anyone who tries to offer advice, telling them in person and on twitter to “keep your one vote”. Little do they know that, as they repeat this message to a million people who desperately want a different message from Chamisa, they would have cost him a million votes. Or more.
But one thing we have always known about the MDC is that it never, ever, learns from its mistakes, because it believes that it does not make any.