Zimbabwe: MDC Mustn't Underestimate the Electorate

editorial

Despite efforts by the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, to tarnish the image of Zanu-PF, the revolutionary party has remained the party of choice.

The MDC has no policy and no selling point. "Zanu-PF (or President) must go" is not an ideology or a seller and the recent thrashing of the MDC in Nyanga and Bikita by considerable margins, is testimony to this fact.

Because Zanu-PF is an ideologically-rooted party, a delegation from the party recently attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Julius Nyerere School of Ideology in Kibaha, Tanzania. The delegation was invited because Zanu-PF is part of six revolutionary parties in Africa that are introducing schools of ideology in their respective countries.

The other liberation movement parties are Tanzania's Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) of Namibia, and Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO).

In line with the spirit of sister liberation movements, the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology was created by Zanu-PF to preserve the political ideologies of the party and ensure members and representatives in various arms of the State toe the party line.

The importance of ideology can be seen in the revolutionary party's sweet victory in Nyanga's Ward 26, as Zanu-PF wrestled the seat from MDC-Alliance, which had won it in last year's harmonised polls.

Zanu-PF candidate Cde Bisset Mapeta won the poll with 397 votes against MDC-Alliance candidate Mr Vincent Bopoto's 236.

In Bikita's Ward 31, Zanu-PF candidate Cde Thomas Matanga garnered 1 112 votes against Mr Moses Maphosa of MDC-Alliance's 410 votes, while Mr Peter Mavenga of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) came third with a paltry 23 votes.

It is important to note that the MDC did not have an appealing message to the electorate, except hate speech and subversion by their leader Nelson Chamisa and his lieutenants every time they got hold of a microphone.

Campaigning in Bikita before the elections, MDC deputy chair Job Sikhala said his party would overthrow the Government before 2023. That was the only ideology MDC had to offer, and predictably, it received no takers.

Zimbabwe, under Zanu-PF has achieved what many countries have only dreamt of. Zimbabwe has seen more foreign investors coming into the country and in the last six months, those who were once sworn enemies of the State are productive partners, working for the good of the country.

President Mnangagwa has used his wisdom and charm to change policy on local and foreign investments. Within six months of his Presidency, he has effected great changes and opened Zimbabwe for business.

President Mnangagwa is clearly more reasonable than any other leader today. It is no wonder that he seems so natural on the job. Ultimately, MDC since its formation has lost the opportunity to infuse its message -- if overthrowing a legitimate Government counts as one -- into the psyche of the electorate, particularly the youth.

However, because the MDC decided to take the "no reforms, no elections" route, they lost the opportunity to energise, ideologise and conscientise the youthful constituency.

And while MDC was in hibernation, Zanu-PF continued with its political programmes day in, day out.

MDC and its leadership, for too long, has taken the electorate for granted maybe thinking Zimbabweans are a passive lot.

The electorate has become wiser and realised that they have been taken for a ride by the Western-sponsored party with its empty and unrealistic "spaghetti road" promises.

As it stands, Zanu-PF has the most vibrant youth movement in the country. Another reason why the youth will not come out in their numbers to support subversion.

The Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology has come in handy in reorienting the youth as the revolutionary ruling party was quick to realise the need to impart foundational philosophies regarding the country's history. The school has helped to internalise Zanu-PF ideology and the history of the party.

The school has been holding workshops and training programmes meant to promote cohesion in the party and country.

The cadres that are being trained will then go to each and every ward to train other Zanu-PF members, including backsliders. The party has made it public that it does not discriminate in its ideologies, culture and history

Zanu-PF is like a football manager who fields his strongest team in all competitions - big or small - because he knows the importance of cultivating a winning mentality in the team. Every game matters! Every game must be won!

This culture of "winning" has strategic benefits for Zanu-PF.

People, especially youth, are attracted to winners. You can see it in other areas of competition, such as sport, where teams quickly develop a large following as they become winners and others suffer as they lose their winning streak.

Political parties too benefit from their reputation as winners, even if it is considered unfair. We urge MDC to go back to the drawing board. It is time to put on the thinking caps.

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