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CCC should emerge from this fiasco stronger, wiser

It is a wake-up call in that opposition politics in Zimbabwe has for a long time yearned for a paradigm shift in the way it exists and operates, especially with regards to strategy formulation and execution.

THE ongoing drama within the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is unfortunate and a huge blow to the country’s fight for democracy, but this should serve as a wake-up call for the opposition outfit to strengthen its systems and strategies as well as to put its house in order.

It is a wake-up call in that opposition politics in Zimbabwe has for a long time yearned for a paradigm shift in the way it exists and operates, especially with regards to strategy formulation and execution.

I say so because the genesis of vibrant opposition in the late 1990s through the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) heralded a new era in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.

A new era in that the formation coalesced around emotions and the public sentiment that something ought to change for the better in Zimbabwe.

The discontentment with the then status quo was the labyrinth that brought MDC supporters together.

The threat of the new political party was felt far and wide and even the acquiescence by the Zanu PF regime to form a government of national unity after the 2008 elections was a triumph for the opposition cause, albeit a Pyrrhic one! This is a topic for another day.

In essence, the MDC in its various formations that arose from splits, divisions and reunions was a major beneficiary of voters’ disillusionment with the ruling party, which manifested mainly through a protest vote.

Remember, this was at the height of the “Mugabe must go” euphoria and even when the elderly statesman was ousted after Operation Restore Legacy in November 2017, the jubilations and celebrations across the political and racial divides in the country just showed how impatient Zimbabweans had grown to see the country’s longest serving ruler gone.

The opposition joined the bandwagon to welcome the “dawn of a new era” and I don’t know yet whether that move was strategic or politically naive, but this is also a topic for another day.

If there is anything that has weakened the opposition in this country, it is the perennial internal squabbles, divisions and regrettable splits and splinters.

Instead of uniting as a strong force, the then MDC Alliance continued to wrestle for power resulting in the formation of CCC and as they say, the rest is now history.

However, the latest melodrama in the form of the recalling of some Members of Parliament and councillors, has reignited the debate on the role played by the internal turmoil within the opposition camp.

This article does not intend to delve on conspiracy theories of what forces could be behind such manoeuvres as that would be tantamount to speculating but the writing is on the wall.

What is clear though is that these developments (or is it underdevelopments?) are a litmus test for the youthful opposition outfit and, as the Shona adage goes, votokwinya dzisimbe (up the ante as more effort and measures are required).

First and foremost, the CCC has no option but to put its house in order to address any internal governance issues and shed off the dictatorial tag that is slowly being attached to the opposition party by naysayers and loyalists alike.

Let the “leaders” in the party smoke the peace pipe and unite for the common good because a fragmented and disunited party is at its nadir in the political game of poly-tricks.

As Sun Tzu explicated: “He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.” I avow that the party should consider addressing any internal democratic processes, such as the holding of congresses to choose leaders properly and transparently to avoid any internal strife or guesswork that will act as fodder for the other side.

This brings to the fore the issue of lack of structure which has always been a bone of contention with some scholars dismissing it as having no effect on the operations of CCC.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I beg to differ with such postulations, taking into cognisance McKinsey’s 7S framework, which specifically points out that structure follows strategy and any organisation without the latter will be blown in any direction by the wind.

Unlike movements that focus on specific once-off issues, a political party requires political capital that arises from a clear-cut strategy and a formal structure so that it carries out various processes like voter mobilisation, information dissemination and resource mobilisation, among others, systematically through these structures.

Just like a company that requires an organogram outlining reporting structures from the CEO to the shop floor, CCC should reconsider its position on structures because competition in business and politics alike is akin to what one philosopher likened to war where the best strategy wins.

In terms of strategy, it is good that 'God is in it' and the party advocates for peaceful engagement. I do not condone violence because it exacerbates instead of solving problems. What seems to be in short supply is a clear non-violent and peaceful path to tackle the political and economic crisis Zimbabwe finds itself in. For instance, one of the strategies could be dialogue and this calls for the opposition to 'swallow its pride' (no offence intended) and engage the ruling party to assuage the current imbroglio. That can only be possible when members of the opposition themselves start singing from the same hymn book but the discord and incoherence that I sense now might be an albatross around CCC's neck.

When all the dust settles, it is incumbent upon CCC to go back to the drawing board and re-strategise to emerge out of this current morass re-energised, refocused and rejuvenated. In the absence of a clear-cut political strategy (and during cut-throat competition from Zanu PF), the annihilation of CCC might be something on the horizon.

  • Canisio Mudzimu is a political commentator and public relations practitioner. He can be contacted on canisiomudzimu@gmail.com.

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