4 August 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Needs Viable Strategy


The outcome of the harmonised election that gave Zanu PF a two thirds majority is a bitter pill to swallow for the MDC-T.

Just a week ago, the party led by Morgan Tsvangirai appeared to be cruising to victory with a message of change that resonated with the crowds.

But the MDC-T is now contemplating how it can reverse an unfavourable poll outcome that has been described by Tsvangirai as a "farce".

Taking the legal route seems pointless, judging from the outcome of their recent court challenges. The rushed elections have also been endorsed by Sadc and the African Union, leaving the party with nowhere to seek recourse.

This predicament may have prompted MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett, who is in exile in South Africa, to suggest that a mass protest is best in the circumstances.

"There needs to be resistance against this theft and the people of Zimbabwe need to speak out strongly," Bennett was quoted as saying three days ago.

"I'm talking about passive resistance. I'm talking about people completely shutting the country down -- don't pay any bills, don't attend work, just bring the country to a standstill."

While this idea seems to be gaining traction in the MDC-T, there is need for deep soul-searching on the risks involved before leaders can urge supporters to risk life and limb on the streets.

Zimbabwe has travelled this path before and nothing apart from the trauma associated with violence and the bad publicity that made it a pariah state were the result.

Peaceful mass actions also give securocrats, who have largely played a behind-the-scenes role in this election, an excuse to crush the MDC-T. Those militias that have terrorised communities in the past will have justification to re-emerge to unleash terror in the communities, leading to the loss of innocent lives and damage to property.

MDC-T is advised to explore viable means of expressing their grievances and more importantly, to go back to the drawing board to re-examine how they can reconnect with the masses after spending the past four years sharing power and its trappings with Zanu PF in government.

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