Zimbabwe: 'Political Defections Are for Survival' - Tsitsi Dangarembga

CELEBRATED literary author and film director Tsitsi Dangarembga has described opposition politicians, who are jumping ship and joining Zanu PF as people who are putting their personal financial and survival interests first.

She was speaking on BBC's HardTalk where she said Zanu PF's tight grip on the economy and business had made it very difficult for opposition politicians to "wiggle" and sustain their livelihoods hence decisions by some to join it instead of continuing to fighting the regime.

The award-winning writer told HardTalk's Zeinab Badawi the Zimbabwe government last year delayed the release of MDC Alliance's funding until it had "restructured the opposition" into what it wanted.

"The other side of it is that people have to earn a living. Generally, politicians in Zimbabwe are not people with qualifications to do anything but politics. They tend also to be business people," said Dangarembga.

"In order to be able to flourish in the arena of politics they have to have a source of income. Now, if Zanu PF is in this hegemonical position where they control everything including the economy and business, it means that if you are in the opposition you have no chance of survival.

"Last year, they actually stopped money that Parliament was supposed to deposit into the opposition's account until they could do some restructuring of the opposition themselves. They quote Marxist philosophy that the best opposition is an opposition that you create yourself so they have been doing that diligently.

"They make sure that resources cannot flow towards oppositional voices and I think this is one reasons that feeds the pressure to join Zanu PF."

A number of opposition political figures including President Emmerson Mnangagwa's rival of over two decades, Blessing Chebundo have joined Zanu PF.

Chebundo was presented to Mnangagwa at State House alongside other defectors, including former MDC Alliance senator Lilian Timveous.

Other prominent figures who have defected to Zanu PF are; Tongai Matutu and Obert Gutu both former legislators and deputy ministers.

Added Dangarembga: "Those opposition parties have very little wiggle room to operate in. The restrictions have been so great that it is very difficult for people to exert any political opposition that is effective."

More From: New Zimbabwe

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.