HARARE – Political analysts believe the 2018 election will test Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s resolve to break President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s stranglehold on power since 1980.
While some are of the belief that the 2018 election would mark the end of Tsvangirai’s political career if he loses to Mugabe again, some are of the opinion that his best shot can actually come in the polls.
Political analyst Mcdonald Lewanika says in African politics some opposition leaders have spent 15 to 20 years in opposition before winning.
“So while it might be bad and may seem like doom for Tsvangirai the reality is that in Africa people can get nostalgic and give leadership opportunities to candidates who would have failed in the past,” said Lewanika.
He however, adds that “this is not an excuse for him to loose, Zimbabwe has often bucked the African trend. Morgan’s threats are more from an emergent generation that is also hungry for opportunities to lead and maybe tired of continuously waiting in the wings.”
Media activist Takura Zhangazha believes Tsvangirai is definitely running for office in 2018 election in the hope that he can win it this time in the aftermath of Zanu PF’s reconfiguration and possible placement of someone who is not Mugabe as a rival candidate.
“I don’t think that in his mind he is considering defeat in the context of such a scenario. I am certain possible defeat is not on his mind at the moment but then again he is not demonstrating that he is planning for a victory given his own internal party challenges among them a lack of unity and resources. It is too early to tell if he will eventually be a candidate again in 2023 whether he wins or lose 2018 election .”
Playwright Silvanos Bhanditi Mudzvova says 2018 election is a final push for Tsvangirai.
“This might be his last chance of making it to the State House. It means he has to leave his smart game and use the same dirty tricks being employed by Zanu PF.
“The 2018 election s are his grand finale and if he loses that will be the end of his political career because he cannot lose an election to a 94-year-old.”
Media activist Tabani Moyo says the major challenge that Zimbabwe faces at the moment is that we have become prisoners of hope.
“We hold a never ending myth that things will change themselves along the way. Gone are the days when the opposition used to beg votes out of protest.
“The opposition in total remains irrelevant if it is not united to unseat Zanu PF and proposes a genuine alternative and path for the peoples of Zimbabwe.
“If we approach the next election in this current hopeless state, be assured that there will be literally no contest and a sad write off. Zimbabwe is no-longer interested in electoral processes for the sack of it.”
Moyo says the opposition should redefine a new narrative on how best to heal Zimbabwe and start the job of reconstruction.
“The ‘Mugabe must go’ mantra or the show of bravery no longer means much in politics. We want a political construct which mobilises the country around a big idea.
“This process of relying too much on a people who have played a part in their generation does not work until and unless they are willing to re-invent, breath meaning in the peoples of Zimbabwe and provide leadership thrust which returns Zimbabwe to a responsive country to its peoples’ needs.”
Journalist Njabulo Ncube says if Tsvangirai does not win in 2018 election , that will be his Waterloo.
“So he needs to work hard, engage all the major opposition players and other democratic forces so as to agree and create a formidable opposition.
“He will never beat Mugabe as long as the opposition remains fractured as it is. He should have learnt from his past mistakes of being stampeded into an election without the requisite electoral reforms like media reforms.”
He adds that the public media, for instance, “still remains partisan in favour of Mugabe and Zanu PF yet it is supposed to serve the general public, including the opposition. We still have public media personnel going to work wearing Zanu PF campaign regalia. The voters roll remains in shambles as it still has dead people on it.”
Political commentator Blessing Ivan Vava believes 2018 election is a make or break for Tsvangirai, “but seemingly his chances of winning those 2018 election are slim.
“Tsvangirai is at his weakest, but well after losing I doubt that he will step down — they have already said Tsvangirai will continue as MDC president until they have removed Zanu PF.”
Vava says worse still is that the party has been named after Tsvangirai, hence without him the MDC cannot survive.
“Tsvangirai has failed to demonstrate what he preaches that leaders must come and go, and good leaders are seen by that ability of grooming successors and respecting their constitutions — something he himself has failed to do.”-Dailynews