The President reacted accordingly, using language similar to the one used on his Government by the Opposition. The Opposition underestimates President Mnangagwa’s capacity to use repressive State apparatus at his disposal. The West and the USA, through their different platforms with the Opposition and some Civil Society Organisations, have not learnt a thing about the Zanu PF way of governance from the past.
By Precious Shumba
Confronting Mnangagwa’s Government is ill-advised and a recipe for own destruction. A new paradigm shift is needed in opposition politics to ratchet up pressure through what I term progressive politics, where instead of starting always with the negative, they could try starting with a correct diagnosis of the New Dispensation, it’s policies, approaches, and facilitate more discussion forums where they build up their new image as an Alternative Government. So far the Opposition has fallen in the same trap as before of reacting to Zanu PF Government policies and statements, without offering substantive options besides arguing that ED lost to Nelson Chamisa.
The announcement made to the effect that the Soldiers will be deployed again and again to deal with violent demonstrators is not merely a threat against the opposition. It is a policy pronouncement that his Government will no longer allow the Opposition to get too comfortable to the extent of planning a second shutdown demonstration. ED is simply saying the Opposition has started a war to undermine and threaten his tenure, therefore he will not hide behind the notion of democracy to let them do as they please on his watch.
He will get more opposition activists arrested, tried and convicted and jailed, thus weakening the capacity of the opposition to mount a serious challenge to his rule today or in the future. By making that policy statement ED is indirectly telling the foreign actors who dispute his rule that he does not care how they view him, and he will punish those who threaten national peace and security using any means necessary, including use of the military.
Given ED Government’s relationship with the Russian Federation and the Chinese Government, and with the backing of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, the Zimbabwe Government is getting more confident and the temptation to interfere in MDC Alliance internal politics through infiltration and propaganda will increase.
I am convinced that the MDC Alliance and Civil Society Organisations have not read the situation very well. My recommendation is that given the threat of more violent crackdown against the Opposition if they undertake any more violent demonstrations, the Opposition and its allies have to strategically retreat, re-organise around alternative policies and strengthening the local authorities that they are running so that they exert direct pressure on the Central Government.
As it stands most urban local authorities are struggling to provide decent social services to the ratepayers.
The President is ready to use the Military and the Opposition should not imagine themselves getting much help from the West or from America. Zanu PF is not afraid of sanctions. Instead, they are getting ready to pursue their one-party state agenda.
They will not let the Opposition derail their plan. The President was not joking. A new paradigm shift is required to reinvent Community activism that does not leave more people dead, hurt and injured.
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