By Peacemaker Zano
Efforts by opposition parties to form a coalition are wishful thinking and machinations of some sections of the media who are attempting to advance an agenda of the western countries to remove the ruling government from power.
It really surprises to hear little known opposition parties like Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) calling for an alliance with other parties. BZA is led by an American based Noah Manyika. Manyika has not been visible in the political field all along. It is only now that this American based politician is calling for unity among all opposition parties. As the next election nears, it is known that each opposition party wants to be recognised.
Since 2013, opposition parties have been talking and talking of coalescing but failing. This gospel of coalition has been preached in the media endlessly, meetings have been held but nothing has come out positive. Unfortunate enough, there have been more break ups and firing of party officials rather than uniting in most opposition political parties.
Isn’t it that for a political party to merge with other parties it has to have grassroot support? A coalition should be a game of numbers. It won’t be fair for these new kids on the political block to form an alliance with other parties who have been in this field for so long. For instance, Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), will find it difficult to coalesce with other opposition parties. Already, ZimPF party is disintegrating. ZimPF was only formed two years ago, and now Mujuru has formed a new party, the National People’s Party.
Whilst other opposition parties are busy preparing for next elections, Manyika’s party and five little parties under Coalition of Democrats (CODE) are also busy running around making efforts to unite with other opposition parties. CODE was formed a year ago and five opposition parties are part of it. Since the formation of CODE, there has been much talk about it but no action is reflecting the purpose. These small parties are quite aware that they cannot make it as standalones in the next election, hence calling for a union.
Complicating the matter, it has been reported in the media that Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai has been setting hard conditions for other opposition parties like ZimPF that had shown keen interest of coalescing with it. Such stringent conditions are a hindrance to the formation of the much talked union.
Coalition talks by opposition parties may be cheap but actions don’t reflect the words. If the truth be told, a coalition is like a marriage of convenience which has more demerits than merits.
In the event that the union is formed, there is no doubt that each member of the coalition will suffer from a sense of insecurity. Normally all the leaders of different parties would be craving for power and not necessarily serving the interest of the electorate.
Further to that, a slight digression from the common agenda or misjudging a partner’s sentiment can be a cause for concern and can cause great damage to the union. It should not be ruled out that, every party in a coalition has certain constraints, which often force them to ignore their partners’ anti-democratic activities. The leaders in the coalition will deliberately try not to criticise their counterparts because if they do so, the alliance would become null and void.
Also, differences in ideologies among leaders often affect formation of these coalitions and this usually affects the output. This will also result in the growth of factionalism and fissures within the alliance which will damage the fabric of communal harmony.
The other challenge with coalitions is that if a single party withdraws its support and walks out of the alliance, the entire unit faces the threat of becoming irrelevant.
Opposition parties should therefore form coalitions at their own peril.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation