Three coalitions now official; will there be a merged coalition before 2018 elections?

 

By Watmore Makokoba

A spiral of developments in the opposition camp took a dramatic turn that has led the ordinary man in the street to wonder where all the events are leading Zimbabweans to as the 2018 elections beckons.

After a flip-flopping, playing hide and seek, opposition political parties seem to have realised that personal ego and individualism were not going to pay any dividends in the quest to oust Zanu-PF from power in the coming elections.

After the splitting of more than 50 opposition parties to what seems to be a  grand finale under three diverse coalitions namely; Coalition for Democrats (CODE), MDC Alliance and the later People’s  Rainbow Coalition. Scepticism is still high as to whether this will bring the much sought after political change in Zimbabwean history.

As the clock ticks faster towards 2018 general elections, while it’s sunset in the opposition camp, the people of Zimbabwe are still wondering if these three can come together to form one Grand Coalition with one Presidential Candidate to guarantee the triumph of the opposition vote.

The first legitimate coalition to emerge was the Elton Mangoma led Coalition for Democrats,  originally composed of about eight opposition outfits, some which have already defected to the newer coalitions that came later, MDC Alliance led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Rainbow Coalition led by Joice Mujuru

To buttress the argument, the statement from Dereck Lupemba, Vice President of the Zimbabwe People First (ZimFirst) makes a lot of sense as it challenges the mind to seriously read through the lines and attempt to bring the bigger picture from a shaky scenario.

“You read in the newspaper that Joyce Mujuru’s National People’s Party (NPP) is teaming up with Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU, Lucia Matibenga led faction of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), ZUNDE and DARE to launch a new coalition,

“Then you turn the page and you realize there was a misrepresentation of facts, rather Dumiso Dabengwa has been elected as the supreme council chairperson of the Coalition of Democrats (Code) and that Elton Mangoma leader of RDZ has been nominated to be Presidential candidate to the same CODE,

“Then you go and check CODE party membership and  you see it had  ZAPU, RDZ, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe led by Barbara Nyagomo, Zimbabweans United for Democracy Party (Farai Mbira), Dare (Gilbert Dzikiti), African Democratic Party (Marceline Chickasha), Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (Simba Makoni) and ZimFirst (Maxwell Shumba) as signatories to the coalition.

“So we have a number of opposition parties such as DARE and ZAPU assumedly in both CODE and People’s Rainbow Coalition and only Dawn/Kusile led by   (Simba Makoni) and ZimFirst led by Maxwell Shumba belonging only to Mangoma’s coalition.

“Imagine the confusion to an ordinary voter trying to decide who to vote for,” said Lupemba

It makes one wonder whether these politicians are serious about solving the national crisis bedevilling the economy or whether they are just wasting time not realizing that they are only helping Zanu-PF to retain power.

Amidst the chaos, the ordinary voice still calls frantically for combined forces between the three splintered coalitions.

 Chivayo gets severe backlash over Mujuru post

 

By Tariro Sendarayi

Over the weekend, the Women’s Election Convergence held a laid-back event for women in politics where they would discuss how to fill the gender inequality gap in politics. This initiative was a product of #HerVoteWins2018 and #SheVotes2018. There was a convergence of women from across the political divide over food and drinks and some dance. Speaking of dancing, we saw a video going viral of Dr Joice Mujuru donning her dancing shoes. This was a spectacle to many who had not seen her before on the dancing floor. Unfortunately, our ‘tenderprenuer’ Wicknell Chivayo was caught on the wrong side of comments when he posted the viral video with the caption “Not my president…Long live Baba Chatunga”!

 

His post caused an uproar that generated a unified tone insisting that his post was downright sexist, portraying a wrong in the President of National People’s Party (NPP) taking to the dancefloor. In the myriad of comments, some pointed out the patronage issues were Chivayo was known of castigating anything that is not Zanu-PF as long as it ensures that he is on the feeding trough. As Zimbabwe catapults through the severe economic crisis, some inferred that he had taken such a stance because he is amongst the select few who are actually thriving and benefiting from the same crisis. His post depicted that you cannot bite the hand that feeds you.

The issue of patronage came up as many pointed out that Joice Mujuru was so old that she can’t walk or dance. There was an inference to how he could still support a 94-year-old man who can barely walk let alone dance.

Of interest, the issue of the none event was the Gwanda Solar Project which came up. Our question to Wicknell is what happened to the project? Residents in Gwanda have seen the clearing of excess vegetation which was done in preparation for the installation but to date, the presence of even a single solar panel is…dololo.

Of course to throw some spanner in the works, Zimbabweans didn’t disappoint, they obviously took jabs at Chivayo’s  weight issue and how he is jealous that Dr Joice has some dance moves when he, can barely move from point A to B. Chivayo must have succumbed to the pressure as he has since pulled down the post from Instagram.

The Higher Calling of the Media Getting Lost in Transient Politics

 

By Wisdom Mumera

Recently Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa held a press conference at which he wanted to clarify his side in the ongoing factional battle with his enemies and to do that he found it fit to chase away private media personnel. His justification being that they would not serve his purpose.

US President Donald Trump has done it before after he revoked the rights of certain media personnel from attending his White House briefings. He also felt they were on a strategic drive to fight him and not simply cover him as a newsworthy person. They had made him a project of their scorn and derision.

Whilst zealotry impulse would be to attack the politician, logic dictates that the case has a  fair hearing. A casual look at the publications will reveal that for all the media’s vaunted position as the Fourth Estate, watching over the other societal arms of governance they have again, as in 2013, regressed into the muddy battlefield of politics.

In 2013 just after the elections, which President Mugabe allegedly won by a landslide, the SIRDC held a post-mortem of the media coverage of the elections and notably invited the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information George Charamba and Joyce Leticia Kazembe, namesake of another Joyce Kazembe who then led the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Charamba lectured about the weaknesses of the media in the run-up to the election and how it had been left standing with a loaded gun when the target was already gone. The media had become both the audience to its own prophecies, clapping hands and saluting its own spirituality whilst reality on the ground went in the opposite direction.

In the end, the media had lost contact with facts imbued with giddy vertigo that allowed it to falsely prophesy an opposition slalom to victory. The following ruling party victory was by the biggest margin since the entrance of MDC in 1999.

According to Charamba how the media had lost touch with facts and reality was the result of its shedding of the vestige of its puritanical Fourth Estate clock to out on the politician’s garments and losing all sense of professionalism and impartiality.

In this run-up to the 2018 elections elements of the same attitudes are showing themselves again, this time not in false prophecies about opposition win, but in the uninhibited frolicking and involvement in politics at a level that is very unprofessional and downright removed from the actual Fourth Estate level.

The ZANU PF factional battle has been borrowed by some media sections and vaunted to levels of importance where the absence of logical debate about the issue betrays the personal involvement of the publications.

The media is allowing itself to be ridden into false sunsets by politicians with their own agendas whilst the people’s cause is suffering.

In as much as the factional battles are a welcome kothing in a party famous for being a group of bootlicking and principally deformed faded heroes, they are not the wholesome consummation of what Zimbabwe is all about.

There is more to Zimbabwe to fill the front pages than the tit-for-tat responses of Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. As Charamba said in 2013 politics is transient, more so the personnel involved, but the media is here to stay and the nation more so.

Mugabe may be a larger than life figure commanding awe amongst those who worship his now frail figure but he won’t outstay the nation. Same with Mnangagwa, Moyo, G40 and Lacoste. With time they shall all be figurines and statistics in bar tales.

The media shall however still be here read by a people expecting to have their agenda set by a logical and professional sector clothed in purity and ethical consideration of the bigger whole and not mere factional segments of agitated corrupt old man and women still ruminating over a war from 3 decades ago.

Playing above the surface of the dirty coterie and focusing on real issues to do with the economic and humane state of the nation will be the best way to deal with these wealth hoarders and their catfights over stolen possessions.

With 2018 drawing closer the media has a higher calling with more permanency than the transient skirmishes of accused robbers and alleged murderers.

 

 

 

CAN ZIMDANCEHALL WOO YOUNG VOTERS

 

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

As the campaign for 2018 elections gathers momentum, political parties, presented with a puzzle on how they can entice the young people to vote have turned to popular Zimdancehall artists to lure them.

Zimdancehall is one of the most sought-after, popular music genre followed most by youths in Zimbabwe.

Previously,  there has been voter apathy among the youths and it remains a question if this popular culture can be a panacea to woe young voters?

In a situation where most of the sought after young population demography are virgin voters,  there is need to captivate them to register to vote and participate in the forthcoming elections.

According to Lauren deLisa Coleman in an article entitled ‘Reaching Millennials Through Pop Culture published in Campaigns and Elections, 2016, “Popular culture is a powerful tool in an increasingly fragmented society. It’s what often times is the key manner in which to link people, especially when it comes to certain Millennial sub-demos,”.

This assertion is relevant here because we have a fragmented country which has an older generation that endured the colonial regime and welcomed the country’s independence with much anticipation.

The second generation is the so-called ‘born-frees’ who could have enjoyed a few years of the ‘good times’ and now the Millennials who were born when the economy had already started falling. The afore observation present an inherent need to use pop culture(Zimdancehall)to encourage the young folk to get registered to vote by engaging popular artists who have become role models to them.

The observation explains why it has proved effective to use pop culture (Zimdancehall) to encourage the young folk to get registered to vote by engaging popular artists who have become role models to these young people.

Recently, ZimRights and ERC (Elections Resource Centre) launched a voter mobilisation programme at Chigovanyika Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza where thousands of young people in the satellite town came to witness the event which was graced by Soul Jah Luv ‘Chibaba’ and Guspy Warrior. Nearby was the BVR registration centre which the CSOs encouraged people to visit after taking them through the BVR exercise.

The massive turn out undoubtedly could have been triggered by the presence of this revered Zimdancehall artists and the CSOs are going to be using the same ‘modus operandi’ across the country.

Zanu PF has roped in Zimdancehall artistes at its interface rally and the opposition should not under-estimate that this popular culture can be a vehicle to rally the masses to vote out Zanu PF next year.

So it remains to be seen whether Zimdancehall can be used as a tool for voter mobilisation and participation in the political process.