15 June 2017

Zimbabwe: Opposition in Panic Mode At President's Popularity

Photo: The Standard
President Mugabe.

The ruling zanu-pf has launched Presidential Youth Interface Rallies that will see President Mugabe going around the country meeting youths and hearing their concerns for later addressing.

At the time the ambitious programme was announced, critics dismissed it as doomed to flop, basing their assertions on the alleged divorce between war veterans, traditionally acknowledged as the zanu-pf mobilising machine, and President Mugabe.

The vociferous critics also argued that the President had lost his shine among the population, more so among the youths, and even within his own party. Others looked into their cracked crystal balls and erroneously concluded that zanu-pf would be too busy with in fighting to make the youth meetings a success.

The inaugural meeting held in Marondera understandably floored these critics, who, together with the lunatic section of the media, had been going into overdrive dismissing the meetings as non-events. The humungous attendance that led to the overspill outside Rudhaka Stadium was a rude awakening for the prophets of doom in all things concerning President Mugabe. It demonstrated that the man still holds considerable sway in the country and within zanu-pf, and especially among the critical youth constituency.

While many have since sought to dismiss the huge attendance, claiming that people were forced or bribed to the rally, the stubborn fact remains that people turned out in their huge numbers in Marondera and none were seen crying or demanding to be taken back home because they were kidnapped. Instead there was much dancing, laughter and ululating inspired by that out-of-body experience of seeing one's icon.

And as the Gushungo juggernaut rolls into Mutare this Friday, the naysayers are at it again, with the opposition in sixes and sevens as to how to stop the bullet train.

Interestingly, the rhetoric has moved from the tactical claims that people are forced to the President's rallies, to outright campaigns against the rallies. One Knowledge Nyamhoka of the MDC-T Youth Assembly was given acres of space in the media, fuming that they would stop people from attending the rally in Mutare.

He claimed that zanu-pf would force people to the rally, and in the next breath, contradicted himself saying people would freely go there just to see what a 93-year-old looks like. What confused hogwash.

Nyamhoka's jumbled rant is indicative of the panic understandably gripping the opposition in the face of the sea of crowds that the President is attracting, having all along lulled themselves into thinking the President "apera basa". Shona sages aptly stated that kuvhunduka chati kwatara hunga uine katurike.

Nyamhoka's tirade left this writer wondering, if people were only attending President Mugabe and zanu-pf's rallies for entertainment value or to mock him, why is Nyamhoka and his party so worked up as to actively campaign against another party's rallies? In street lingo, one would ask why MDC-T iri pafilling station.

It now appears that the opposition is so scared as to rustle up another coalition to dissuade people from attending the Presidential Youth Interface Rallies, with the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), joining the wailers. NCA Manicaland spokesperson David Mukunda missed the irony in disclosing that his party had launched a provincial campaign to stop people from attending the President's Mutare rally.

What is sad is that the NCA and other opposition parties fail to recognise the foolishness of mobilising to decampaign zanu-pf instead of working on their own policies and making themselves more appealing to the electorate. And the opposition keeps wondering how they successively lose national elections.

Zimbabweans tired of the opposition's monkey business have since concluded that the opposition in the country is doing a disservice to citizens by not providing a viable and sober alternative to zanu-pf.

Perhaps it is high time the opposition took heed of observations by respected political gurus and think-tanks such as Afrobarometer, Professor Stephen Chan, Dr Toendepi Shonhe and others, who have all noted in recent times that President Mugabe still enjoys massive support among the electorate.

While the opposition is busy looking for shadows on the alleged zanu-pf rigging plot, they are ignoring the truth staring them right in the face that the man called Mugabe has many that still support him, while others just love to hate him, but either way, he commands their attention and attendance when he speaks.

MDC-T and its little brothers and sisters should depart from the filling station they are pegged at and let zanu-pf supporters enjoy the Presidential Youth Interface Rallies in peace.

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